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What Are the Different Types of Inspirational Poetry?

By T. Carrier
Updated May 23, 2024
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Poets use many different tools to give artistic language a desired effect. Variations in structure, word choice, and subject matter create an overall stylistic effect, and, in many cases, an overall meaning. Inspirational poetry, for example, evokes feelings of optimism and hope. In order to achieve this effect, a poet may select certain poem types, such as sonnets, ballads, or odes. Inspirational poems may also be defined by their subject matter, and popular topics for these works include love, courage, and spiritual fulfillment.

Certain poetic forms lend themselves well to the uplifting nature of inspirational poetry. Sonnets and odes, for example, are types of lyrical poems that focus on the poet’s feelings and observations. The ode pays tribute to a person or object with descriptions outlining the subject’s merits, whereas the sonnet covers subjects like romantic or spiritual love with a song-like, flowing quality. William Shakespeare and English Romantic era poets such as John Keats and Lord Byron produced many classic works in both forms.

Other types of poems may be considered inspirational poetry via their subject matter. For one, many long epic forms celebrate the courageous feats of real or imagined heroes. The works of ancient Greek poet Homer are examples of this form. Idyls and Japanese haiku invoke the wonders and attributes of nature. Even epitaphs that commemorate an individual who has passed away may remind the reader of that individual’s importance in life and, ultimately, in death.

Any poem that boasts positive messages like love and hope combined with an optimistic spin could serve as inspirational poetry. Sometimes the poem is defined by its simple message, such as ‘carpe diem,’ or 'seize the day.' A poem may benefit from literary devices that create pleasant and quiet, yet uplifting sounds. As such, recognition and implementation of different rhyme and syllable patterns may achieve desired effects. A skilled use of vibrant imagery like comparative similes and metaphors may prove to be another useful tool for the inspirational poet.

Individuals may create their own personal inspirational poetry by finding a relaxing place where the mind can be cleared, such as a secluded natural area or even a quiet room in the home. Reflection on the positive aspects of one's life and free writing any thoughts which come into the mind could kick-start the process. Photographs or other mementos may aid in reflection as well. Notebooks or pen and paper may provide a better mindset than typing or other electronic writing.

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Discussion Comments
By nextcorrea — On Jan 26, 2012

Is there any famous poetry that counts as inspirational poetry? I am trying to think back to all the famous poems I have read in anthologies over the years and yer little of it seems to count as inspirational? Is inspirational kind of a lesser genre, sort of like teenage vampire romance compared to literary fiction?

By tigers88 — On Jan 26, 2012

I have a collection of poetry that is all on the subject of living with cancer. It was written by patients, doctors, friends and family.

Some of it is very dark and sad as you would probably expect. But there are some really heartwarming stories told in beautiful poetic ways as well.

I have not read a lot of poetry in my life and very rarely have I felt inspired by it. But when I was fighting my cancer this book gave me a lot of strength.

By whiteplane — On Jan 25, 2012

Some of the most inspirational poetry I have ever heard has been on the subject of weddings. Sometimes it is about weddings and other times it is poetry designed to be read at a wedding.

I recently got ordained in order to officiate a friend of mine's wedding ceremony. In preparation I checked out a ton of books from the library on wedding toasts, traditions, rituals, blessings etc. I ended up reading lots and lots about weddings. It got a little old after a while but I was surprised by how much of the poetry I liked. I think that format really lends itself to the expression of love.

During the ceremony I ended up reciting a Chinese poem that is almost 2000 years old. It is beautiful and simple and by the end both the bride and groom were in tears.

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