Poetry is a form of literature that traditionally has a specific structure of rhythm and metre in order to invoke emotion in the reader. Though blank verse and freeform poetry also exists, it is typically still distinguishable from prose at least by format on the page as most lines will not take up the full width of the page. Poetry tends to be shorter than novels, though epic poetry that far outstrips the usual wordcount of modern novels cannot be forgotten.
The structure of traditional poetry consists of lines, which then form a stanza (like paragraphs). For certain types of poetry, each line must have a specific number of metrical feet (beats) or feature a rhyming pattern - for example the structure of a Shakesperian sonnet is quite rigid, demanding fourteen lines of alternating rhymes that end in a rhyming couplet which skew the poem's meaning at the last moment. Like other forms of literature, poetry can have genres as well. These genres include heroic poetry, dramatic poetry and narrative poetry.
Arguably Shakespeare's most famous sonnet.
Poetry is often grouped chronologically into two time periods: the modernist period or the classical period.
Modern poetry has been written between the years 1890 and 1950, most specifically in either North America or Europe. Modernist poetry has new features that is not traditionally in poetry, such as different line breaks or symbolism to invoke emotion in events that were not relevant until the specified time period. An event in the modernist time period was World War I and there is much poetic literature that comments on these world wars in one way or another. As the modernist period is more recent than the classical period, modernist poetry uses more current language.
Classical poetry has been written prior to the modernist period (before 1890). Classical poetry most typically has staying power, as it has lasted long enough to remain prominent in today's society. It typically exhibits formal language and rigid format. Many classical authors wrote poetry as a form of essay, in order to communicate a point that they deemed prominent in their society. Classical poetry is often characterized by the presence of strong emotion, such as passion or contemplation.
As not all authors wrote in the same language of course; translated poetry has become widespread to allow anyone to enjoy the works of foreign authors. The act of translating any language to another is very difficult, as there are idioms that do not have the same meaning in the new language as they do in the original language and word lengths and connotations may vary greaty so translated poetry is often not as effective in the new language. However, there have still been a number of great successes in translation of poetry.