Poetry is a particular kind of literature unlike any other. It uses certain qualities of language, such as rhythm and rhyme, to create beautiful works which awake emotion in their readers. It has its origins in ancient epic verses, such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, which were memorised by storytellers who recounted them to an audience. The repetitive, rhyming tales in verse form were easily remembered and passed down through generations before finally being written down. Contemporary poetry has come a long way since those first steps 3,000 years ago!
Poetry has made such a large contribution to English literature that we have devoted four quizzes to the subject. In this, the first, you are asked to recall some much-loved verses. Have a go and see how well you know the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, William Longfellow, Robert Burns, William Wordsworth and many other fine wordsmiths!