The underlying concept of the poet as creator is not uncommon, and some modernist poets essentially do not distinguish between the creation of a poem with words, and creative acts in other media.Yet other modernists challenge the very attempt to define poetry as misguided.Early poems in the Eurasian continent evolved from folk songs such as the Chinese Shijing, or from a need to retell oral epics, as with the Sanskrit Vedas, Zoroastrian Gathas, and the Homeric epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey.Ancient Greek attempts to define poetry, such as Aristotle's Poetics, focused on the uses of speech in rhetoric, drama, song and comedy.Some poetry types are specific to particular cultures and genres and respond to characteristics of the language in which the poet writes.Readers accustomed to identifying poetry with Dante, Goethe, Mickiewicz and Rumi may think of it as written in lines based on rhyme and regular meter; there are, however, traditions, such as Biblical poetry, that use other means to create rhythm and euphony.
Classical thinkers in the West employed classification as a way to define and assess the quality of poetry.
This "romantic" approach views form as a key element of successful poetry because form is abstract and distinct from the underlying notional logic.
This approach remained influential into the 20th century.
Much modern poetry reflects a critique of poetic tradition, Other ancient epic poetry includes the Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey; the Avestan books, the Gathic Avesta and the Yasna; the Roman national epic, Virgil's Aeneid (written between 29 and 19 BCE); and the Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Epic poetry, including the Odyssey, the Gathas, and the Indian Vedas, appears to have been composed in poetic form as an aid to memorization and oral transmission in prehistoric and ancient societies.