The Works In Verse And Prose Including Hitherto.

Poetry (the term derives from a variant of the Greek term, poiesis , "making") is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic [1] [2] [3] qualities of language —such as phonaesthetics , sound symbolism , and metre —to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning .

Some scholars believe that the art of poetry may predate literacy . [8] Others, however, suggest that poetry did not necessarily predate writing. [9]

The oldest surviving epic poem , the Epic of Gilgamesh , comes from the 3rd millennium   BCE in Sumer (in Mesopotamia , now Iraq ), and was written in cuneiform script on clay tablets and, later, on papyrus . [10] A tablet dating to c.   2000   BCE describes an annual rite in which the king symbolically married and mated with the goddess Inanna to ensure fertility and prosperity; it is considered the world's oldest love poem. [11] [12] An example of Egyptian epic poetry is The Story of Sinuhe (c. 1800 BCE).

Other ancient epic poetry includes the Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey ; the Avestan books, the Gathic Avesta and the Yasna ; the Roman national epic , Virgil 's Aeneid ; and the Indian epics , the Ramayana and the Mahabharata . Epic poetry, including the Odyssey , the Gathas , and the Indian Vedas , appears to have been composed in poetic form as an aid to memorization and oral transmission, in prehistoric and ancient societies. [9] [13]

Other forms of poetry developed directly from folk songs. The earliest entries in the oldest extant collection of Chinese poetry , the Shijing , were initially lyrics. [14]

Classical thinkers employed classification as a way to define and assess the quality of poetry. Notably, the existing fragments of Aristotle 's Poetics describe three genres of poetry—the epic, the comic, and the tragic—and develop rules to distinguish the highest-quality poetry in each genre, based on the underlying purposes of the genre. [18] Later aestheticians identified three major genres: epic poetry, lyric poetry , and dramatic poetry , treating comedy and tragedy as subgenres of dramatic poetry. [19]