This poetry essay looks at the idea of poetry length. It compares short poetry, medium length poetry, and long poetry. Although the definitions of these are subjective, one definition might be that short poetry is a less than half a page, medium length poetry is a half a page to a full page, and long poetry is more than a full page.
Writers of poetry may be familiar with this length of poetry. Forms like haiku, tankas, and limericks are all short poetry forms.
Short poetry has a number of advantages.
First, it is easy for a reader to consume. It requires little commitment of their time to read.
Second, a reader may find it easier to read a number of short poems rather than one long poem. The idea is that the breaks in the works makes the reading easier.
Third, if part of the idea of poetry is to express an idea in just the right words, short poetry can be conducive to this. The brevity of the form can force the poet to be succinct in their expression.
Fourth, short poetry might be easier to write than longer lengths. All else being equal, because there is less to write, it can be easier to write.
There are some disadvantages to short poetry.
First, a short poem can be harder to use to tell a story. Some stories take time to tell, but with a poem that might only be fifteen lines, this could be difficult. A short poem might be better for a scene than a story.
Second, a short poem has limited opportunities, all else being equal, to incorporate form elements. For example, if a poet wanted to have a poem with a complex end word rhyming pattern, this would not be possible with a poem of only five lines. A poet would need a longer work for this.
Third, sometimes a short poem length can make expression hard. Sometimes a poet can have a difficult time expressing a complex idea in such a short way. They might find it easier to express the idea if given more space.
Medium poetry might be the length of poetry a poet writes when they are not thinking about length. It might be the length of poetry that develops when a poet writes free verse poetry.
Medium length poetry has some advantages.
First, as mentioned above, it can be a good length if a poet does not want to think about length. It does not require the focus on brevity that a short poem does while also not requiring the quantity of words of a long poem.
Second, it can an appropriate length to tell a short story. Sometimes poems tell stories and a poem that is between a half a page and a page can be an appropriate length to tell a short story. It can give the poet enough space to get the story across, while at the same time not requiring a poet to tell a full story.
Third, it can be an acceptable length for readers. Like other medium things, it is not too little or too much. It can be a length readers are comfortable with.
Fourth, this length of poetry opens up the possibility of using more complex poetry form elements.
There are some disadvantages.
First, because the poem is a bit longer than a short poem, a poet might end up being too wordy. They might say more than is needed to get the idea across. They lose the benefit of succinctness that can come with a short poem.
Second, this length of poetry might feel long to some readers. If some readers are used to reading short poetry forms, like haiku, a poem that is a full page, might feel long to them.
Third, the increased length can make it harder for the poet to have impactful poetry statements. It is sort of the notion that it can be easy to say one deep line, but hard to say twenty.
Long poetry can be considered as poetry that takes more than a page. It might take just more than a page, or it might take many pages. Readers may have encountered this type of poetry in some poetry books. Some works have poems that span many pages of the book.
This length of poetry has some advantages
First, it can allow the poet to tell a full story. A poet can tell as much of the story as they want and also have multiple scenes in the story.
Second, it can allow the poet to express fully what is on their mind. They can do so without being concerned with length.
Third, it can allow the poet to work through an idea in the work. Sometimes a poet can have a difficult time expressing an idea. They know what they want to say, but not how to say it. A longer poem can allow the poet to work through this in the work itself. They can describe something in different ways and from different points of view until they feel they have made it clear.
Fourth, an undetermined length means a poet can incorporate as many poetry form elements as they want.
There are some disadvantages as well.
First, this type of poem can be too long for some readers. Some readers don’t like the idea of reading ten pages of one poem.
Second, a longer length can make following ideas in the poem more difficult. Because of the symbolism, metaphor, and other style elements of poetry, it can be difficult for a reader to follow ideas along if a poem is long. They might be on page five, and not remember what was on page three.
Third, this length of poetry is absent the succinctness possible with short poetry. If part of the idea of poetry is to express something in just the right words, this can be hard to do with hundreds or thousands of words.
Fourth, this length of poetry could be harder for a poet to write. Because they have to follow ideas along its length, the longer the poem, the harder this can be to do.
A poet, when considering how long a poem should be, should take the above ideas in to account. Some expressions are better for short poems, and some are better for medium or long ones. It depends on what the poet wants to say and how they want to express it.