Poetry, Poesy, Lyricism

and other such matters



Here, on the Lyricalworks site, we're going to concentrate on lyric poetry. Lyric poetry goes back at least as far as Classical Greece, where it was often composed to be recited to the sounds of the lyre, flute, or other instrument. These song-like origins are central to an understanding of this type of poetry.
     The heroic narratives of epic poetry, such as Beowulf or Homer's Odyssey and Illiad, challenge the mind and stir the blood. They concern great ideas and the histories of peoples and countries. Lyric works are more subjective and personal in origin, although they, too, may touch on universal themes.
     Lyric poetry is honest and direct, an emotional outpouring from the poet's heart. A lyric poem is not intended to impress you with its erudition or cleverness, so you won't find an elaborate construction of intellectual or poetic conceits. Rather, the poem appears spontaneous, very human, even conversational. Many lyric poems are quite simple, yet very moving.
     A lyric poem may be an emotional response to an event or occasion; perhaps, the poem describes a passionate moment. Other times, the poet is more reflective, trying to make sense of an experience and applying it to a broader field of life. Almost always, you will feel the pulse of a deep river of feeling.
     Although subjective, lyric poetry can certainly touch on some of the great themes of life—love, death, war, loss, identity, loneliness, friendship, nature, spirituality, meaning, and purpose. However, in the lyric realm, expect to find insights regarding these great themes, not lengthy arguments or dramatic events.

     Note: Lyrical refers to certain intangible qualities in an art form—emotional, melodic, harmonious, rhythmic, heartfelt. You will see the term lyric or lyrical applied to music compositions, paintings, architecture, and other works of art in addition to poetry and prose.
     Keep your eyes and ears open and see if these works sing to you in some way. What are they saying? Do they leave you with a single impression that you can put into words, or even one word?

Suggestions for reading

    As you read the poetry, try to hear the rise and fall of the poet's voice as it swoops and turns through these songs of the soul. Let the emotion be your guide to the sound and the meaning. And finally, take your time! Poetry was not meant to be scanned quickly. Instead, enter a timeless space for a heartbeat or two.

Suggestions for writing

   If you are writing a poem, do the same. Try to hear the sound of your inner voice at play within you. If you hear only a single line from that voice, write it down! More may come. Allow yourself to write about a single thought or feeling. See where it takes you. Your right brain thrives on associations and nothing could be better for poetry!

In this strange
and beautiful realm...

You may feel that you are eavesdropping on a conversation between the poet and his or her Muse, but if the poet has gone into the matter deeply and truly enough, something magical happens: a moment of shared recognition, as we experience together Truth, Love, or Beauty, and for a moment transcend our separate and solitary experience of life. May you have many such moments in your life!


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