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Poetry Guide: Light Poetry

Light poetry, also called light verse, is poetry that is less serious than other poetry to which it could be compared. Poems considered "light" are usually brief, on a less serious subject, and feature wordplay, including puns.

Light poetry is sometimes condemned as doggerel, or thought of as poetry composed casually or on the fly, without much thought to convention; it sometimes is used to label tasteless or amateur verse. Much such poetry is given to satirical or erotic topics; much of it is love poetry.

While light poetry, by definition, is less serious than other poetry, a number of important poets are well known for light poetry. In classical antiquity, authors who were well known for light poetry include Anacreon and Callimachus, who wrote in Greek; their Latin counterparts include Catullus and Martial.

In English, poets who are well known for light poetry include:

Ben Jonson
many of the Cavalier poets
Alexander Pope
Henry Austin Dobson
Edward Lear
Ogden Nash
Dorothy Parker
Willard R. Espy
Shel Silverstein

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