World Poetry Day: A Rhyme in Time

Today is World Poetry Day! Across Hampshire Cultural Trust's venues, we have a varied collection of poetry hidden throughout the archives and in the museums.

Poetry has been around for nearly as long as humans have, helping to pass stories down through generations and entertain families who didn’t have television and Wi-Fi!

Some poetry is virtually impossible to date, due to it being predominantly verbal, passed down through generations prior to being written and recorded. Even if poetry manuscripts have survived the passage of time, the exact dates of the works are difficult to discover. We know that monks in 13th century Europe liked to add poems to religious texts and drew inspiration from ancient poets like Aristotle and Virgil. Even these greats were predated by unknown authors, one of the oldest poems ever recovered was called ‘The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor’, written by an unknown poet on papyrus (an early paper made from the pith of a papyrus plant).

These huge epics were story-based poems, keeping families entertained around the fireplace at night. As civilization moved on, we see a rise in sonnets, made famous by Petrarcha and Shakespeare during the 1300s- 1600s. These featured entertaining rhymes, making them suitable for reading and stage plays. Later, Restoration poetry became popular with John Dryden focusing more on satire. William Wordsworth made his way into the fray during the 1800s with the emergence of romantic poetry, which was consumed by the masses in written form, making its authors household names. The last big wave of poets came with the modernists, based in the USA and bringing us names such as T. S. Elliot, Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath.

Why not try and write your own poem inspired by William Shakespeare? He penned lots of rhyming couplets, two lines typically of the same length like this...

I like to read with Culture on Call,

I learn, it's fun, the best website of all!

Perhaps when we open up again soon you might like to visit a few local venues and spot some verse hidden throughout our sites, or even write some of your own like I have...

From everyone here at the Trust,

Thank our readers we must!

We can't wait for you back,

To share all our facts

Full of learning and fun, HCT’s stuffed!

Alex Moore


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Hampshire Cultural Trust

From museums to galleries to arts centres, we manage and support 23 attractions across the county, welcoming over 740,000 people each year. Our charitable purpose is changing lives through culture.
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