Riley’s 5 Fun Facts About Poetry
By Riley, ACE Poetry Contest Mascot, assisted by Martha Sessums (for spelling purposes only)
The ACE Poetry Contest Mascot posse of Chupe, Cronos, Violet and Thor are working with teachers and students to learn about poetry. But I have some fun facts to share.
1. The oldest written poem is a 4,000-year old epic about Gilgamesh, a half-god/half-man king from the ancient kingdom of Babylon. It consists of a long, narrative story, typically of awesome heroic actions. Sort of like our awesome ACE Learning Center students and teachers who are heroic daily.
2. But it’s not the longest. That’s an Indian epic poem named Mahabhrata, which is 1.8 million words, written starting in 300 BC. That’s eight times as long as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Topic is the story of India told through an 18-day Indian war. Lot of words for a short war, so the story is bigger than the battle.
3. But haiku is the shortest form of poetry, and one of the most popular. Started in Japan, it consists of 17 syllables and three lines containing five, seven and five syllables. Discipline required here. That’s why I like rap and slam. Less rules.
4. But the really shortest poem is a two-word poem called The Shortest and Sweetest of Songs by George MacDonald. It reads: “Come Home.” My buddy John is always rapping poetry to me, but typically only one word: “Stay,” “Come,” “No.”
5. You afraid of poetry? Called metrophobia. Term originated from metre, a basic structure of poetry. Usually happens because your teacher assigned you to read Mahabhrata, that really long poem, and you put off doing the homework until the night before it’s due. Now that’s scary.
Hope you are all learning cool stuff about poetry and writing great poems. Hopefully not 1.8 million words long though.
Remember to treat yourself to a poem.