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Some things are best expressed by poets. To recognize the unique ability of poetry, UNESCO declared March 21st as World Poetry Day to celebrate diversity and oral tradition. In honor of the holiday, enjoy watching these 9 TED-Ed lessons on poetry:

1. What makes a poem … a poem?

What exactly makes a poem … a poem? Poets themselves have struggled with this question, often using metaphors to approximate a definition. Is a poem a little machine? A firework? An echo? A dream? Melissa Kovacs shares three recognizable characteristics of most poetry.

2. The pleasure of poetic pattern

Humans are creatures of rhythm and repetition. From our breath to our gait: rhythm is central to our experience, and often brings us pleasure. We can find pleasure in the rhythm of a song, or even the rows of an orchard. Of course, too much repetition can also backfire. David Silverstein describes what poetic repetition is and why it works.

3. The art of the metaphor

How do metaphors help us better understand the world? And, what makes a good metaphor? Explore these questions with writers like Langston Hughes and Carl Sandburg, who have mastered the art of bringing a scene or emotion to life.

4. Become a slam poet in five steps

With enough passion and practice, becoming a slam poet is within your reach. Explore a distant memory on paper, then read it out loud. Edit. Try reading it out loud again, and add your finishing touches. Gayle Danley offers five steps to being a slam poet — while being downright poetic in the process.

5. Why Shakespeare loved iambic pentameter

Shakespeare sometimes gets a bad rap in high schools for his complex plots and antiquated language. But a quick peek into the rhythm of his words reveals a poet deeply rooted in the way people spoke in his time — and still speak today. Why do Shakespeare’s words have such staying power? David T. Freeman and Gregory Taylor uncover the power of iambic pentameter.

6. Insults by Shakespeare

“You’re a fishmonger!” By taking a closer look at Shakespeare’s words–specifically his insults–we see why he is known as a master playwright whose works transcend time and appeal to audiences all over the world.

7. Everything you need to know to read Homer’s “Odyssey”

An encounter with a man-eating giant. A sorceress who turns men into pigs. A long-lost king taking back his throne. On their own, any of these make great stories. But each is just one episode in the “Odyssey,” a 12,000-line poem spanning years of ancient Greek history and legend. So how do we make sense of this massive text? Jill Dash shares everything you need to know to read Homer’s “Odyssey.”

8. The poet who painted with his words

Among the great poets of literary history, certain names like Homer, Shakespeare and Whitman are instantly recognizable. However, there’s an early 20th century great poet whose name you may not know: Guillaume Apollinaire. Geneviève Emy shows how during Apollinaire’s short lifetime he created poetry that combined text and image in a way that seemingly predicted a artistic revolution to come.

9. A poetic experiment: Walt Whitman, interpreted by three animators

Take a journey through Walt Whitman’s poem ‘A Noiseless Patient Spider’ with the help of three animators who each used a different animation style to bring this beautiful poem to life.

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