The 10 Characteristics of the Most Important Poems

Some of the main Characteristics of the poems Are its irrational content, its structure in lines and stanzas and its rhythm.

To better understand these characteristics, you must first know what poetry is. The word comes from ancient Greek and means to create. It is an art form in which the Human language Is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to or instead of its rational and semantic content.

Poem Features

Poetry can be used in condensed or compressed form to convey emotion or ideas to the mind or ear of the reader or the listener. You can also use devices such as assonance and repetition to achieve musical or incantatory effects.

Poems are often based on their effect on the image, the association of words and the musical qualities of the language used. The interactive stratification of all these effects to generate meaning is what defines the poetry .

Because of its nature, it emphasizes the linguistic form rather than using language purely for its content.

Poetry is notoriously difficult to translate from one language to another: a possible exception to this could be the Hebrew Psalms, where beauty is more in the balance of ideas than in specific vocabulary.

In most poetry, it is the connotations and the"baggage"that words carry (the weight of words) most importantly. These nuances of meaning may be difficult to interpret and may cause different readers to interpret poems differently.

You may also be interested in viewing 10 very representative Baroque poems .

Key features of the poems

1- Usually rhythmic

The marked rhythm of poetry, superimposed on the"natural"rhythm of any language, seems to have taken root from two sources:

Make common recitation easier and emphasize the collective nature of poetry.

It is the impression of the social mold in which poetry is generated. As a result, the nature of rhythm expresses in a subtle and sensitive manner the precise balance between the instinctive or emotional content of the poem and the social relations through which emotion is realized collectively.

Thus, any change in the self-assessment of the relation of the instincts to the society Is reflected in his attitude towards the metric and the rhythmic conventions in which the poem is born.

Facilitating collective emotion

The body has certain natural periodicities (pulse, breath, etc.) that form a dividing line between the casual character of outer events and the ego and make it appear that we experience time subjectively in a special and direct way.

The rhythm puts people in a collective festival in touch with each other in a particular, physiological and emotional way. This emotional introversion is itself a social act.

2- They are difficult to translate

It is recognized as one of the characteristics of poetry that the translations convey little of the specific emotion aroused by that poetry in the original.

This can be confirmed by anyone who, after reading a translation, has learned the language of the original. What is called the"sense"can be translated exactly. But the specific poetic emotion evaporates.

3- Its content is usually irrational

This does not mean that poetry is incoherent or meaningless. Poetry obeys the rules of grammar and is generally capable of paraphrasing, that is, the series of propositions of which it consists can be expressed in different forms of prose in the same or other languages.

By"rational"is meant to conform to the ordinances that men agree to see in the general environment of the world. The scientific argument is rational in this sense, poetry is not.

4- They are characterized by condensed effects

The condensed effects are the aesthetic effects. A telegram. "Your wife died yesterday,"can impart extraordinarily condensed effects to the reader, but they are not, of course, aesthetic effects. In poems, however, language is used symbolically.

Non-aesthetic effects are individual, not collective, and depend on particular, non-social experiences.

Therefore, it is not enough for poetry to be charged with emotional meaning if this emotion results from a particular unrealizable personal experience. Emotion must be generated by the experience of men in society.

5- Economics of language

One of the most definable characteristics of poetry is the economy of language. Poets are relentlessly critical in the way they distribute words on a page.

Careful selection of words for conciseness and clarity is basic even for prose writers, but poets go far beyond this, considering the emotional qualities of a word, its musical value, its spacing, and even its spatial relationship With the page.

6- They are evocative

In general, the poems evoke in the reader an intense emotion: joy, sadness, anger, catharsis, love, etc. In addition, poetry has the ability to surprise the reader with a revelation, insight, understanding of elemental truth and beauty.

7- Shape

Every time we look at a poem, the first thing we will notice is its shape. In other words, the poems have a given form.

One poem will look very different from another, and yet another poem will look very different from the second, and so on. Each poet uses the"form"that will more effectively express what he wants to convey to other human beings.

8- Lines

After looking at a poem and seeing that it has some kind of form, we often notice that it is also composed of lines, which are the vehicle of thoughts and ideas of the authors.

They are building blocks with which a poem is created. The words of each line proceed as usual from left to right, but end where the poet wants them to stop.

9- Stanzas or stanzas

The lines in a poem are often divided into sections that look like a kind of paragraph. They are the stanzas.

There are also the stanzas, whose name comes from the Italian"stanza"and refers to a stanza composed of six verses of 11 syllables and 7 syllables with rhyme consonant, which is repeated throughout the poem recurrently.

10- Rhyme

Rhyming is the sound imitation of the final syllables of words. There are basically two kinds of rhyme used in poetry. The first, the final rhyme, is the most typical and best known by young people.

The second type of rhyme is called inner rhyme. This type of rhyme is different from the final rhyme in which the rhyme takes place within the line and not at the end.


  1. Niko Silvester. Top 10 Key Elements of Poetry. (S.f.). Retrieved from
  2. Elements of Poetry. (S.f.). Retrieved from
  3. Characteristics of A Poem. (2011). Retrieved from
  4. Elements of Poetry - and Description of Quality Characteristics. (S.f.). Retrieved from

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