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Poetic Form: Lyrical Poetry

Lyric poetry is broad in its definition. It isn’t confined to one form. A poet can write a sonnet, villanelle, or a pantoum, and the poem can be classified as lyrical. A free verse poem may also be considered lyrical. Haiku can be considered lyrical. The key is to write with a musical quality–using meter and/or literary devices–and personal expression. This means that, more likely than not, we are writing lyrical poetry whenever we write in a form other than narrative or dramatic poetry. The tricky part is writing poetry well. This is why, in order to write good poetry, we ought to read great poetry.

Because Mary Oliver’s poetry has been compared to other great lyric poets who celebrated nature, such as Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Walt Whitman, I highly recommend reading these poets. I am hoping to do more research of each of them in the coming months. But, for the moment, here are some of their poems that reflect lyricism. Enjoy!

Marianne Moore’s “That Harp You Play So Well”

Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art”

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “God’s World”

Walt Whitman’s “O Me! O Life!”

Mary Oliver’s “The Real Prayers Are Not the Words, But the Attention that Comes First”

Categories: Poetry poetry month

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