English poetry

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The history of English poetry stretches from the middle of the 7th century to today. Over this period, English poets have written some of the longest-surviving poems in Western culture. The language and its poetry have spread around the world.

The earliest surviving poetry from the area now called England was probably transmitted orally (or passed from person to person by mouth, without being written down). It was then written down in versions that do not now survive. Because of this, it is difficult to say which poems were the earliest. There is a lot of controversy over this issue.

A number of major national poetries have developed. These include American, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and Indian poetry. Since 1921, Irish poetry has been viewed more and more as a separate area of study.