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When a poet writes a lyric, he is primarily concerned with expressing his own subjectivity. This is different from the epic, where the poet aspires to speak on behalf of an entire culture or nation. Moreover, in modern usage, the term lyric has largely come to mean the words that are sung as a part of songs in popular genres such as blues and rock. Such songs perhaps have a genealogical connection with older lyric poetry.   

Literary music

You have surely heard the term lyric many times before. But would you like to know more about the specific meaning of this literary term? In poetry, lyric refers to a form of poetry in which the writer primarily expresses his own emotions. The term can be used as both a noun and an adjective. In addition, lyric has also come to commonly refer to the words of the song. This is perhaps related to the fact that historically, lyric poetry has sometimes been sung.  

Learning to write lyrics

Here are some examples of the term lyric being used within the context of real sentences. 

"The rationalist explained that he hated a specified lyric poet because he found all the works to be too sappy and emotional, with the result that they prevented the reader from being able to think in a clear way."

"The lyric in the song was censored by the governmental officials because of the perception that it was advocating for the listeners to engage in illegal activities." 

"The poet's lyric was composed in iambic pentameter, which lent the entire work a sing-songy quality when he spoke it out loud at public gatherings during his tour of bookshops." 

In case you are still a little confused about the meaning of the term lyric, here are a couple basic rules you can follow to make sure you are using it in a correct way. 

  1. The term lyric has three closely interrelated usages. Firstly, it is the poem or verse composed by a lyric poet. Secondly, it is an adjective that can be used to describe such a poem, verse, or poet. Thirdly, the term can be used to refer to the words within a modern song; clearly, this is a derivation from the first usage, insofar as the modern song is conceptually similar to traditional lyric poetry. 
  2. The main counterpart of the lyric is usually the epic. Whereas the lyric poet expresses his own feelings, the epic poet expresses the story of an entire people or nation. In this context, most of what modern people commonly think of as "poetry" is really lyric poetry. In these times, the epic poem has largely given way to the genre known as the novel. 

Emotionally-driven words

Clearly, the lyric is rooted in the fundamental human impulse toward self-expression. This also helps explain why lyric poetry is also closely associated with the theme of love: when a person is in love, he is positively overflowing with personal emotion that he would like to communicate to others in some way. The lyric has consistently maintained this deeply personal and visionary quality of experience. Again, this can be contrasted against the epic, where the ideal would actually be for the poet himself to drop out of the picture so that the story he is telling can take center stage. 

In modern times, the term lyric has primarily come to refer to the words of a song. This usage, however, is closely related to the traditional usage of the term lyric, insofar as both the ethos and content of modern songs reflect those of lyric poetry. For example, Bob Dylan is a popular modern songwriter; but at the same time, it is also clear that he is one of the greatest modern lyric poets within the English language. 

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