Certain forms of Alexandrian poetry can be considered variations on older poetic forms, while others can be seen as innovations in form and content. The genres of Alexandrian poetry do not relate to Egypt or its people. For example, the poet Theocritus' pastoral poetry described not the beauty of nature in Egypt, but that of the island of Cos or the city of Syracuse.
Greek poets knew nothing of Egypt, even after living there, except what they had read of it in Greek stories or what Herodotus or Plato had written. They paid no attention to the local scenery except within the context of how it could be used to praise the king under whose patronage they lived. The most significant attribute of Alexandrian poetry is possibly the absence of political sentiment or of pious feeling towards the Ancient Gods. It was more interested in the wider horizons of human knowledge and in portraying human emotions. Alexandrian poetry praised an idyllic simple life opposed to the complex daily life experienced by many but they did portray reality accurately.