Poetry Is an Ancient Language Art | A World of Poetry

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Poetry Is an Ancient Language Art

In this image from The Odyssey, Odysseus is seen strapped to the mast of his ship.

Most researchers believe that poetry is older than written language itself. The first poems were sung or spoken aloud. The passing down of these poems by word of mouth is known as the oral tradition. As cultures developed written languages, poems were some of the first things to be written down.

The Odyssey is one of the oldest and most well-known poems in the world. It was written around 700 B.C. (2,702 years ago) by a Greek poet named Homer. Because most people during Homer's day could not read, he memorized his poem and read it aloud at festivals and ceremonies. The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus, an ancient Greek hero whose adventures still excite an audience of listeners and readers. The following is an excerpt from The Odyssey:

Out in the middle of the wine-dark sea 
there is a land called Crete, a rich and lovely land, 
washed by the sea on every side; 
and in it are many peoples and ninety cities. 
There, one language mingles with another...

These are only a few of the 9,500 lines that make up The Odyssey. Just imagine, you could write a poem that will last for thousands of years!!!
It is pretty obvious that poetry has been around awhile, so now lets look at how poetry is a language that is spoken around the world...