Gothic poetry can refer to works created in a number of different styles, but typically involve relatively specific subject matter. The period in which such a piece was composed often has a tremendous impact on the way in which it was written and what aspects of the poem make it “Gothic” in nature. Classic works often relied on allusions to the medieval period of Europe and often have emotional content that includes love and the supernatural. Victorian Gothic poetry is, perhaps, the most well known and includes work by poets such as Edgar Allen Poe, while more modern works often take a somber and morbid tone.
There are many different types of writing that can be considered Gothic poetry. The various styles often found within this category are largely based on the time period in which the works were composed. Some of the earliest tales in this style were written in the 18th Century and included imagery, themes, and settings that recalled medieval Europe. These works frequently included overtones of romance and melodrama. Many such works were written as novels, rather than as Gothic poetry, but the themes and content of them has much in common with those poems that followed.
Gothic poetry experienced a great deal of support and interest during the Romantic era. Writers such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Percy Bysshe Shelley used elements of Gothic style within their poems. This blending of dark imagery with works that focused on nature and love was extremely influential on poets and writers who followed them. Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner is among the most well known Gothic poems from this period.
The Victorian era of the 19th Century led to a tremendous resurgence of such works including a great deal of Gothic poetry. Edgar Allen Poe was responsible for much of this work, which remains popular well over 100 years later. Poe’s poems often combined different elements of horror, including supernatural and psychological terror, with romance and the dark, brooding settings often associated with traditional gothic works. The poetry of Poe established content which later writers often sought to emulate through their own works.
Much of this emulation occurred throughout the 20th Century, especially the late 20th Century and the rise of the Gothic sub-culture. Gothic poetry produced by these writers is often very strongly influenced by the works of Poe, and frequently focuses more on the dark and psychologically twisted aspects of human nature. These poems are commonly written as a way for someone to express pain or dissatisfaction through writing. Such Gothic poetry can continue to use supernatural and horrific concepts, though additional overtones of morbidity and despair are quite common.