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Here are the three genres of poetry and the example.

GENRES OF POETRY – These are the three genres of poetry that you should know and an example of each genre.

Poetry is a literary work where the expressions of ideas and feelings come in distinctive style and rhythm. It may be structured with rhyming lines and meter but it can also be in free form, where it follows no structure at all. And poetry has three main genres: lyric, dramatic, and narrative.


In lyric poetry, the mood is melodic and emotional. The words were originally put together with music. The writer is able to express his or her state of mind, perceptions, and feelings rather than telling a story.


Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

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 dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed.


In narrative poetry, the writer tells a story but through verses. It presents a series of events through action and dialogue and is spoken by a single speaker: the narrator. Epics, ballads, and Arthurian romances are the traditional forms of this.


The Odyssey

Of the cunning hero,
The wanderer, blown off course time and again
After he plundered Troy’s sacred heights.
Speak of all the cities he saw, the minds he grasped,
The suffering deep in his heart at sea
As he struggled to survive and bring his men home
But could not save them, hard as he tried—
The fools—destroyed by their own recklessness
When they ate the oxen of Hyperion the Sun,
And that god snuffed out their day of return.


In dramatic poetry, the structure is similar to narrative poetry – it tells a story. The reader makes a connection to his audience through displaying emotions or behavior. Many of this genre appear as monologue and soliloquy. In the narrative, the story is told by a narrator but in dramatic, it is told from the perspective of a character in the story.

Example (an excerpt from the opening of Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess”):

My Last Duchess

That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now; Fra Pandolf’s hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said
“Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not
Her husband’s presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek; perhaps
Fra Pandolf chanced to say, “Her mantle laps
Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “PaintMust never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat.


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