Poem and poem refer to a collection of linked lines, as the length (number of lines) of the poem, and also to the content of the stanzas and lines that make up it. As mentioned above, most English written poetry, as practiced in the United Kingdom and the United States, is generally written in verse of stanzaic form, that is, the lines usually contain four full naturally stressed syllables followed by one strongly stressed syllable at the end. Traditionally, an unrhymed iambic tetrameter was preferred, although the proportions were changed in the 18th and 19th centuries, with strong stress falling more frequently on the penultimate (ninth) syllable.
Poetry is rarely written nowadays, being mostly a practice that exists chiefly among literary scholars and retired poets, though poetry is still occasionally written by students in university English classes. The practice of writing poetry, however, remains alive in other kinds of literature. It is also the subject of art, with poets creating poetry by using different methods to shape words in different ways. Poetry is built from both rhythm and meter, which are two important elements in defining what a poem is. Meter is the way that words are laid out in a line to create a sense of how they should be sounded, whereas rhythm is the natural or intentional slowing down, acceleration or pause in the writing of a line. Poets may use alliteration (repetition of initial consonants or rimes), assonance (repetition of vowel sounds), and consonance (repetition of consonant sounds). This combined rhythm and meter produces stanzas, which make up poems, that are made up of different lines, which are usually about a single idea, and that take a variety of forms, and are punctuated with words of various length of time and meaning. Finally, a poem may be set to music and manipulated by musicians to create a different kind of musical creation, which is called musica.
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