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Poetry is traditionally a written art form (although there is also an ancient and modern poetry which relies mainly upon oral or pictorial representations) in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. The increased emphasis on the aesthetics of language and the deliberate use of features such as repetition, meter and rhyme, are what are commonly used to distinguish poetry from prose.

Poetry may use condensed form to convey an emotion or idea to the reader or listener, or it may use devices such as assonance, alliteration and repetition to achieve musical or incantatory effects. Furthermore, poems often make heavy use of imagery, word association, and musical qualities. Because of its reliance on "accidental" features of language and connotational meaning, poetry is notoriously difficult to translate. Similarly, poetry's use of nuance and symbolism can make it difficult to interpret a poem or can leave a poem open to multiple interpretations. Thus, there can rarely be a single definitive interpretation of a given poem. In fact perhaps a better definition is Carl Sandburg's: "Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits."

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Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
      So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
      So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare

Did you know

... did you know To a Mouse written by Robert Burns in 1785, deals with the narrator's destruction, unawares, of a mouse's nest as he pursued his winter plowing and was the inspiration behind the title of John Steinbeck's 1937 novel Of Mice and Men?

... did you know Dulce et Decorum est was orginally written as a personal letter to Jessie Pope known for her pro-war poems widely published during World War I?

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Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short story writer, editor and critic and one of the leaders of the American Romantics. He is best known for his tales of the macabre and his poems, as well as being one of the early practitioners of the short story and a progenitor of detective fiction, as well as crime fiction in the United States. Poe died at the age of 40, the cause of his death a final mystery. His exact burial location is also a source of controversy.

Notable poems include: