Lyric Poetry Definition & Explanation

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      Derived from the Ancient Greek literature, Lyric poetry is an intellectual type of poetry which expresses personal emotions or feelings, typically spoken in the first person. In ancient times, music provided by the minstrel’s harp or lyre formed an external accompaniment to a lyric. May be the language of the songs was unpolished it was made melodious actually by the voice of the singer keeping tune with the sound of the instrument. The subject matter was of little importance; rather it is the singer’s voice which gives the song an emotional effect. Lyrics are flash stories; they are poems, they contain elements of memoir; in some cases, they address personal themes, which can also be universal. Lyrics reflect the individual journey or cultural observations of the songwriter. They are the serious art forms. It was defined by its musical accompaniment, usually on a stringed instrument known as a lyre. The term owes its importance in literary theory to the division developed by Aristotle between three broad categories of poetry: lyrical, dramatic and epic. A lyric poem is a comparatively short, non-narrative poem in which a single speaker presents a state of mind or an emotional state. Lyric poetry retains some of the elements of song which is said to be its origin.

      Lyric poetry is the most extensive category of verse, especially after the decline of narrative and dramatic verse since the 19th century in the West. Lyrics may be composed in almost any meter and on almost every subject, although the most usual emotions presented are those of love and grief. A writer of lyric poems may be called a lyric poet, a lyricist, or a lyrist. The author of a lyric epic poem will choose words by their ability to represent moods and feelings or by the way they sound, which can also add to the mood of the poem. Much lyric poetry depends on regular foot and meter based either on number of syllables or on stress. The most common meters are as follows:

(i) Iambic: Iamb (noun) is a disyllabic foot, in which the second syllable is accented and the first syllable remains unaccented. The adjective form is iambic. For example, /in.SULT/ is an iambic foot.

(ii) Trochaic: Trochee is a disyllabic foot where the first syllable is accented and the following syllable remains unaccented. Such disyllabic foot with left edge prominence is called trochaic foot. Trochee is the noun while its adjective is trochaic. /WA.ter/ is an example of a trochaic foot.

(iii) Anapestic: Anapest is one of the trisyllabic feet where two unaccented syllables from the left precede an accented syllable. Such a foot is called anapestic foot. The first foot in the following poetic line is an example of an anapest: /Like a PO./et HID./den

(iv) Dactylic: Dactyl (noun) is a trisyllabic foot which consists of an accented syllable on the left and two following unaccented syllables. Adjective of dactyl is dactylic. An example of dactylic foot is /

(v) Spondaic: Spondee is a special kind of metrical foot consisting of two long syllables both of which are stressed. The word comes from the Greek term sponde, meaning ‘libation’. For example, Structure Example. /To the/ FRESH FIELD/ of PO./et.RY/

(vi) Pyrrhic: Pyrrhic is a metrical unit consisting of two unstressed syllables, in accentual syllabic verse, or two short syllables, in quantitative meter. Though regularly found in classical Greek poetry, pyrrhic meter is not generally used in modern systems prosody. The unaccented syllables are instead grouped with surrounding feet. Structure Example. /To the/ FRESH FIELD/ of PO./et.RY/

(vii) Refrain: Some forms have a combination of meters, often using a different meter for the refrain. The word refrain comes from Vulgar Latin refrigerate, ‘to repeat’. A refrain is a verse or phrase that is repeated at intervals throughout a song or poem, usually after the chorus or stanza. For example, we can refer to the title line of Dylan Thomas’ “Do not Go Gentle into that Good Night” which is used more than once in the course of the poem.

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