While exploring the fascinating world of poetry, there are so many things that will cross your mind, and also, there is much to learn when you want to become a poet in Canada. However, the best part of poetry is that every aspect of it is enjoyable, whether you are learning, reading, or listening; whatever you do in poetry is impactful and fun.
Whether your aim today is to find the best poems you can add to your collections or you wish to learn more about writing your poetry, this article offers much more. Continue reading to see some famous poems in Canada and some of the best poets Canada has ever known.
However, before that, you should learn the various types of poetry so you will better appreciate a fantastic piece of poetry when you find one online.
Types of Poetry
Free verse is one of the simplest forms of modern poetry, and as the name implies, it offers a good amount of freedom for writing poems. It gives poets the freedom to express themselves fully without following specific patterns.
Free verse can have as many stanzas as possible, it can rhyme or not, and doesn’t have a specific subject. However, while free verse may seem simple and exciting, it is tricky to master due to its lack of rules.
Haiku is one of the oldest forms of poetry, which started in Japan but has become prevalent in many countries worldwide. It is widely known for its short length, consisting of just three lines. The second line has seven syllables, while the first and third lines have five syllables each. The poem doesn't have to rhyme and is commonly used to incite a mood.
This is an ancient but very interesting form of poetry made popular by the famous William Shakespeare, although it originally began in the 13th century in Italy. The word ‘sonnet’ was derived from 'sonetto', an Italian word which means 'little song'. However, the sonnet was perfected by the poet Petrarch.
Hence, if you are writing a sonnet, you have to follow the Italian sonnet rule designed by Petrarch, which requires you to follow the rhyme scheme of ABBA ABBA CDE CDE. Or you can follow the English sonnet rule designed by Shakespeare, which follows the ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme. Also, remember that traditionally a sonnet has 14 lines.
The villanelle originated in France; it is also an ancient form of poetry and has many rules. It consists of five stanzas with three lines each and an additional stanza with four lines; the six stanzas make 19 lines in the poem. The villanelle only has two rhyming schemes, and the rhyming scheme follows this pattern: ABA ABA ABA ABA ABA ABAA.
As you can see, there's a lot of repetition; lines six, twelve and eighteen are repetitions from line one, while lines nine, fifteen and nineteen are repeated from line three. However, don't get excited yet because you think the repetitions make it easier; you still have to deal with the challenge of making meaning out of the repeated lines.
The ballad is used to tell an emotional or dramatic story. It is an ancient form of poetry that started in Europe, passed down from one generation to another, and now it has become popular worldwide. So much so that most pop songs you hear today can be referred to as ballads.
It has a set form, typically four lines, and a rhyme scheme of ABAB or ABC. However, ballads are not as strict as villanelles, so you can modify them to suit your writing needs.
Some people may get the misconception that acrostics are boring because it is common in school, but it is far from it; acrostics are actually very interesting; the first letter spells out a name, phrase, or word for a message and it is so for every line in the poem.
The word spelt lays down the pattern or theme of the poem so the poem can rhyme or not. Therefore, if you can think of a word right now, you can start writing an acrostic poem.
These types of poems are funny and sometimes rude, and it was made popular in the 19th century by Edward Lear. It also has a unique AABBA rhyme scheme, and the sound is very distinctive, so you have likely read or heard a limerick poem at some point. The first, second and fifth lines are meant to be longer than the third and fourth lines, and the last line is often a punchline.
This type of poetry may not have many rules like the others, but it has a subject - death. They are poems written to express deep emotions and feelings for a loved one or a group of people who have passed away. They are always sad and emotional poems but can also have a hopeful ending.
This poem is often written to praise a person, thing or event and is usually short in length. The ode is not just a popular form of poetry but also one of the oldest, and the word ode is derived from 'aeidein', a Greek word which means 'to sing or chant'.
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An ode is usually performed with musical instruments and is subject to the writer's needs since you know how best to describe who or what your poem is about.
Famous Poems and Poets in Canada
Eating fire by Margaret Atwood
The Canadian icon Margaret Atwood is an accomplished poet who is also famous for her works of fiction. Her poetry illuminates creativity and talent. Through postcards, bus trips, trivia, and wilderness, she always reflects the skillfulness and passion of a poet who is intensely engaged with the world of poetry. ‘Eating Fire’ collects two decades of Margaret Atwood's early poetry from 1965 to 1986.
As if a Raven by Yvonne Blomer
Yvonne Blomer's ‘As if a Raven’ explores the connection between birds and language and how birds can be tamed with language. She is the current poet laureate for Victoria, B.C., and this collection of poems establishes an understanding of how language controls, documents and mythologizes birds.
Dark Harbor by Mark Strand
Mark Strand is a Canadian American poet and essayist; he became very popular after he won the Pulitzer prize for his poetry collection ‘Blizzard of One’ in 1999.
‘Dark Harbor’ is a long poem published in 1993; it explores the differences between real and unreal, imagination and reality, isolation and togetherness, known and unknown - the contradictions that combine to create life.
Hologram by P.K. Page
Although P.K. Page passed away in 2010, she was an influential poet in Canada who published more than 30 books, including fiction, poetry, and essays, before she died. ‘Hologram’ is one of her best collections, published in 1994; it takes an early renaissance form and comprises 14 lines which pay homage to different poets.
Unsettled by Zachariah Wells
‘Unsettled’ explores the Canadian North and how it shapes our national identity and mythology. It was first published in 2004 by Zachariah wells, a famous poet in Canada.
Blood orange by Heidi Garnett
Heidi Garnett is the famous author of two poetry collections, ‘Blood Orange’ and ‘Phosphorus’. ‘Blood Orange’ was published in 2016, and it explores the concept of home and homelessness and how memory and identity make up what we consider home.
The Red Files by Lisa Bird-Wilson
The ‘Red Files’, Lisa Bird-Wilson's debut poetry collection, are named after the federal government files on residential schools.
The poems were inspired by the generations of abuse suffered by the indigenous children in residential schools in Canada. She wrote these poignant, heart-rendering poems drawing from archival records and family photographs, which were proof of what she was writing about.
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Burning in this Midnight Dream by Louise Bernice Halfe
‘Burning in this Midnight Dream’ is an exceptional collection by Louise Bernice Hailfe and was inspired by the work of the truth and reconciliation commission. She is an awarded poet from two hills, who won the Latner Writers Trusted Poetry prize in 2017. These poems explore the traumatic legacy of residential schools in Canada.
Ghost Works by Daphne Marlatt
‘Ghost Works’ was published in 1993, and it consists of poems, journal writings, travel essays, and letters which all combine to tell a story of what home and place mean to one woman. Daphne Marlatt is a poet and novelist based in B.C., and she was a member of the order of Canada in 2006.
Poetry Classes Near me
Every time you decide to explore the world of poetry, you will always learn something new or find something interesting to engage in, from poetry basics to advanced poetry. If you have a passion for it, you can learn and become just as impressive as some of the poets listed above.
If you live in Canada, Superprof classes will help you explore a wide range of tools and topics in poetry, whether you are just getting started or are an experienced poet looking to enhance your skill in writing poetry. On Superprof, you can work with an expert and exceptional tutor who will help you improve your insight with specialized lessons that suit your needs.
So as much as you enjoyed reading this article and have learnt a thing or two about poetry, there is still so much more to learn on Superprof. So why not satisfy your cravings for poetry by joining this amazing platform?
Learn more about poetry clubs and groups in Canada.
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