Historians have demonstrated that poetry originated as an oral tradition designed to transmit history and customs. Over time, it developed more and more structure, specifically after the advent of literacy. At that point, people wrote down their stories, rather than simply recited them, allowing more than stories to be recorded because their minds were free to roam since their memory wasn't hogging all the neural CPU. In short, when people began writing, poetry became less a cultural transmitter and more an artistic medium.
But culture can be artistic, since the most powerful art reflects culture in a way that gets the people to see a different aspect, right? Sure, however the form and function of poetry changed once people no longer were dependent upon oral recitation. Whereas the initial structure was designed to be conducive to verbalization so more people could pass on the history and values, the entailment of writing poetry allowed it to change its form merely to suit aesthetics, and be more about the experience of reading and writing it rather than actually transmitting information the society deemed valuable or necessary.
Think of it like this: If written word were abolished today, or even drastically reduced, think of how we'd have to adjust. One, we'd be forced to verbally or physically communicate with another in the moment; and two, the type of information we'd communicate would be starkly re-prioritized because there'd be no external stimuli to physically catalogue thoughts. So we'd deal with the most important, pressing things first, addressing and resolving what we can. That's what it was like before literacy was created; poetry was a practical tool used to pass information along, helping the people keep highly-prioritized information fresh through bundling and grouping it into easily recallable clusters.
With the advent of written word, the behaviors surrounding poetry immediately changed. Since written word transformed poetry from a practical tool into an aesthetic art form, deeper, more rich types of poetry were enabled, mainly in the form of lyric poetry and music. Imagine how some of your favorite songs would sound nowadays if the artist didn't have the ability to write them down and tinker with them, at least a little bit. Rarely any great piece of art that you see is the first draft, since 'draft' indicates a intentionally recorded point in a sequence. Writing and recording allow the artist to look at their creation, to further adapt it, to change it into more of itself. What the written word did for poetry and music cannot be understated.
Even though poetry is no longer exclusively a practical tool doesn't mean it served its purpose as the pre-dater of the era of literary awesomeness. It's only modern civilization that has marginalized poetry, since the pre-Industrial world culture lacked a propensity for production, self-assessment via money, and an addiction for leisure-based technology. Due to this, the art of poetry was viewed as honorable and a sign of enlightenment in pre-Industrial times. It allowed (and still allows) people to access a world beyond the senses, using metaphor, idiom, and other cultural devices to enrich experience and imagination. It's true that other forms of art do this as well, however, it's a fair concern why poetry in this day is singled out from the crowd.
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