The Longest Poem Ever Written

Arts and Literature

When it comes to poetry, length is not always a deciding factor of greatness. However, it is intriguing to explore the world of long poems and discover the works that push the boundaries of poetic expression. In this article, we will delve into the realm of lengthy poems and uncover the answer to the question: What is the longest poem ever written?

The Definition of a Long Poem

Before we can determine the longest poem ever written, it is important to establish what constitutes a long poem. While there is no strict rule regarding the length of a poem, a long poem generally surpasses the typical length of a standard poem, which is usually a few pages or less. Long poems often span multiple volumes or even entire books.

The Epic Poem

One of the most famous forms of long poems is the epic poem. Epic poems have been a part of literary tradition for centuries and are characterized by their length, grandeur, and narrative structure. These poems often tell a heroic or mythological story and are composed in a specific meter, such as dactylic hexameter.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

When discussing long poems, it is impossible to ignore the Epic of Gilgamesh, considered one of the oldest surviving works of literature. Dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, this epic poem recounts the adventures of the legendary King Gilgamesh. Composed of approximately 3,000 lines, this ancient poem is indeed a remarkable example of a long poem.

The Mahabharata

The Mahabharata, an ancient Indian epic, is another notable contender for the title of longest poem. With over 200,000 lines, this epic is not only a significant work of literature but also a spiritual and philosophical guide for Hindus. It explores themes of duty, morality, and the nature of existence, making it a comprehensive and profound piece of writing.

The Modern Long Poem

While ancient epics hold a prominent place in the world of long poems, modern poets have also ventured into the realm of lengthy poetic works. These contemporary poems often experiment with form, structure, and subject matter, pushing the boundaries of what a poem can be.

The Cantos

An exemplary modern long poem is “The Cantos” by American poet Ezra Pound. This ambitious work, composed over several decades, consists of 120 sections and spans more than 800 pages. Pound explores a vast range of topics, including history, mythology, economics, and politics, creating a complex and multilayered tapestry of words.


“Paterson” by American poet William Carlos Williams is another renowned long poem. Divided into five books, this epic poem takes its name from the city of Paterson, New Jersey. Williams delves into the essence of American life, weaving together personal experiences, historical events, and social commentary. The poem’s length allows for a comprehensive exploration of the city and its inhabitants.

Mahabharata | Longest Poem Ever Written | Officially Incredible | Record Owner

And the Winner Is…

After considering various contenders, the title of the longest poem ever written goes to “The Mahabharata.” With its staggering length of over 200,000 lines, this ancient Indian epic is an unparalleled feat of storytelling and philosophical exploration. Its impact on literature, religion, and culture cannot be overstated.

In Conclusion

While the length of a poem does not necessarily determine its quality, long poems have the potential to captivate readers with their depth, complexity, and sheer ambition. From ancient epics to modern experiments, the world of long poems is a testament to the power of language and imagination.

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