Write a brief note on the form and structure of a poem

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When we read a poem, the first thing that calls our attention is its form. Form refers to the way the poem is built.

In other words, form means structure. In this context versification and diction, need special mention. In fact, versification and diction form the form.

Versification implies the skilled use of common or ordinary human speech that makes the composition into a song or into something, which approaches a song. In the past, the words used were sung to a rhythmic beating of the feet or musical sound. Later the words came to be merely recited, not sung, but they retained their regular beat.

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Poetry is closely allied with music. As a matter of fact, it is born of music. Poetry retains as much of its one time appeal to the ear as is compatible with the present day conditions. Meter along with other devices such as rhyme, assonance, alliteration, consonance, onomatopoeia etc. contribute to the musicality of a poem.

Diction implies the choice of words used in poetry. Words are chosen for their sound value. They are also chosen for their associations and connotations.

The choice of words and the way they are used determines the tone. With the tone predetermined, the words are so chosen as to serve this end. Most of the words used in poetry are connotative, not denotative as in prose. The rhetorical devices employed by the poet make the statement richer and more effective. This is what Milton implies when he says “The deaf can hear/ The blind can see.” It is the alchemy of words that makes a poem fascinating and magical.

This is why poetry is often described as the fine art of wards. Words are not used for what they mean only: They are used as symbols or imagery. They evoke feelings and emotions. They bring up vivid, lively pictures before the mind’s eye of the reader.

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A well-knit form makes a poem an organic whole in which every part is inseparably linked to all other parts. Every word has its importance in contributing to the totality of the effect. The talking out of even a single word adversely affects the poem, the effect it aims at having on the readers.

William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Keats and T.S. Eliot are pastmasters in the artistic choice of words and imagery.

However, the nation that certain words only are poetic and certain other words cannot and should not be used in poetic composition is misleading.

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