Poetry Types

These are some of the Poetry Types I have explored and attempted to write here on my Blog.  The explanations I give here are very simple and of my understanding–for more complete explanations and samples please visit the links listed below.

  • ABECEDARIAN:  The first letter of each line uses a letter of the alphabet–all 26 letters are used.
  • ACROSTIC:  The first letter of each line spells a word vertically.  In my poems I try to have each line relate in some way to the meaning of the word being spelled.
  • ALOUETTE:  2 stanzas–12 lines–34 syllables–5-5-7-5-5-7 each stanza–rhyme: aabccb
  • AUBADE:  Poem or Song about morning or daybreak–often about love
  • BALLAD:  a poem that tells a story–often has a repeated refrain–often sung as a love song or folk tale
  • BLACKOUT: creating a poem from a published article (such as in a newspaper or book) by blacking out words.
    BLANK: choose one word–4-5-or 6 lines–in each line use your chosen word in consecutive order with the chosen word on the first line in the first place, then your word on the 2nd line in the second place and so on (see example and get a free worksheet here).
  • BOP:  3 stanzas–Each stanza is followed by a refrain. Any number of syllables. Rhyme or No Rhyme.
    First stanza=6 lines– presents a problem
    Second stanza=8 lines–explores or expands the problem
    Third stanza=6 lines– either presents a solution or offers a conclusion to failing to resolve the problem
  • BUTTERFLY CINQUAIN: 9 line stanza–42 syllables=2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2
  • CALLIGRAM: a poem in which the letters create a visual image of the poem–like a shape poem
  • CASCADE: poem is according to how many lines are in verse one.  3 lines?–then verse two’s last line is the first line from verse one–verse three’s last line is the second line from verse one–verse four’s last line is the last line of verse one.  ie: ABC-deA-fgB-hiC–No rhyme scheme.  Poem’s length is according to first verse.  (Visit this Link for more information)
  • CHERITA: Tells a story. A single stanza of a one-line verse, followed by a two-line verse, and then finishing with a three-line verse.
  • CHOKA:  55 syllables–5-7-5-7-5-7-5-7-7 (or more)–often called a “long poem” repeats 5-7 and ends with 5-7-7
  • CINQUAIN: 5 line stanza–22 syllables=2-4-6-8–2
  • CLARITY PYRAMID:7 lines–2 triplets- 1 single line–First line is the title—1 syllable–Capitalized–next 2 lines are 2 syllables and 3 syllables–synonyms of title  Next triplet tells gives an overview of the title–3 lines–5-6-7 syllables and the last line is 8 syllables written as a defining quote of the title.  Poem should be centered to look like a pyramid.
  • CLERIHEW:  comic verse, two couplets, aabb rhyme, usually about a person/character
  • CONCRETE:  is like Shape poetry but Concrete doesn’t have to take on the particular shape of the poem’s subject, just some of the words in the poem can enhance the effect.
  • CROWN CINQUAIN: A sequence of five cinquain stanzas which construct a large poem
  • CURTAL SONNET:  11 lines–10 syllables each line except last line has 5 syllables–first six lines rhyme: abcabc–next five lines rhyme: dbcdc
  • DECUAIN:  10 lines–10 syllables each line–any subject–rhyme scheme: ababbcbcaa or ababbcbcbb or ababbcbccc
  • DIAMANTE:  7 lines-contrast poem–diamond shape–Line#1=noun–Line#2=two adjectives describing Line#1–Line#3=three “ing” words describing Line#1–Line#4=four words (two about Line#1 and two about Line#7)–Line#5=three “ing” words about Line#7–Line#6=two adjectives about Line#7–Line#7=Antonym or Synonym about for Line#1
  • DIDACTIC:  a how to poem–a poem that explicitly instructs the reader in some kind of skill or knowledge
  • DOUBLE ETHEREE: 20 lines–110 syllables—1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10–Reverse–10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1–Any subject
  • EKPHRASTIC:  A poem that tells about a painting or photograph so as to describe it visually–no particular form
  • ELEGY:  Written in response to a death.  Expression of sorrow or grief.  Lament.
  • ELEVENIE: eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem
    1 word=Noun
    2 words=explain what noun does
    3 words=explain where noun is
    4 words=further explanation of noun
    1 word=feeling regarding noun
  • EPULAERYU:  7 lines–33 syllables–About a culinary treat or favorite food.  Ends with an exclamation point! = 7-5-7-5-5-3-1!
  • ETHEREE: 10 lines–55 syllables–Any subject–1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • FLORETTE:  2 or more 4 line stanzas–lines 8-8-8-12 syllables–rhyme scheme: aaba–fourth line has internal rhyme scheme–syllable 8 rhymes with b–syllable 12 rhymes with a (see link below for more info)
  • FOURTEENER–14 syllables each line–Any number of lines–rhyme or not– useful in narrative poetry
  • GHAZAL: at least 5 couplets, each of which is its own complete statement. Both lines of the first couplet end with the same phrase or end-word, and that end-word is also repeated at the end of all the couplets. If you’re really feeling inspired, you can also attempt to incorporate internal rhymes and a reference to your own name in the final couplet.
  • HAIBUN:  A combination of two poems: a prose poem and haiku.  The two poems communicate.  The prose poem describes a moment or something objectively–not using “I” and the Haiku is the summary.
  • HAIGA: Modern: Haiku poem on a photograph or art–Traditional: Brush Artwork with Haiku written in brush calligraphy
  • HAIKU: 17 syllables–3 unrhymed lines–regards nature and seasons– 5-7-5
  • JOSEPH’S STAR: 32 syllables–1-3-5-7-7-5-3-1–no rhyme–any subject–align center
  • KATAUTA: 3 lines–19 syllables–5-7-7–un-rhymed–(asks a question and answers it)
  • KYRIELLE:  12 lines–8 syllables each line–rhyme–4th line repeats-any subject–any rhyme pattern
  • LANDAY: “A form of folk poetry from Afghanistan. Meant to be recited or sung aloud, and frequently anonymous, the form is a couplet comprised of 22 syllables. The first line has 9 syllables and the second line 13 syllables. Landays end on “ma” or “na” sounds and treat themes such as love, grief, homeland, war, and separation.”(quote from NaPoWriMo.net)
  • LANTURNE:  5 lines–11 syllables–1-2-3-4-1—written shape looks like a Japanese lanturn
  • LIMERICK:  5 lines-rhyme AABBA, third and fourth lines are shorter, often humorous.
  • LIST: A poem created from a list of people, places, things, thoughts, etc. no certain rules but should tell a story.
  • METAPHOR: A poem that compares two things and in word replaces one object with that of another.
  • MINI-MONOVERSE: 2 stanzas of 5 lines–each line 3 syllables–rhyme scheme: aaaaa-bbbbb
  • MINUTE:  rhyming–12 lines–60 syllables–3 stanzas of 8-4-4-4–rhyme scheme: aabb-ccdd-eeff
  • MIRROR CINQUAIN: Two 5 line stanzas consisting of a cinquain followed by a reverse cinquain–syllables=2-4-6-8-2 and 2-8-6-4-2
  • MIX AND MATCH: poem mingling fancy vocabulary with distinctly un-fancy words. Any form, rhyme or un-rhymed.
  • MONOKU: 1 line–8 syllables
  • MONOTETRA:  4 lines–8 syllables each line–4th line repeats (4 syllables–4 syllables)
  • MUSETTE: 3 verses–3 lines each verse–24 syllables–2-4-2/ 2-4-2/2-4-2–Rhyme: aba–cdc–efe
  • NARRATIVE: tells a story, 2 or more characters speaking, rhyme or un-rhymed, no set length
  • NONET: 9 lines–45 syllables–any subject–rhyme optional–9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
  • OCTELLE:  8 lines–60 syllables–8-8-7-7-7-7-8-8–first/last lines the same–rhyme: aa-bb-cc-aa–
    expresses: symbolism/personification
  • ODDQUAIN:  5 lines–17 syllables–1-3-5-7-1–un-rhymed
  • ODE–IRREGULAR:  Rhymed poem with no particular form–written in praise of something that is no longer present
  • OTTAVA RIMA: English version–each stanza consists of three alternate rhymes and one double rhyme, following the a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c
  • PALINDROME: a poem that reads the same forward or backward. 
  • PALINODE:  a poem in whichtheauthorretractssomethingsaid in a previouspoem
  • PANTOUM: 4 stanzas–generally rhymes abab–repeating lines-2-4-6-8-10-3-12-1=(ABCD) (BEDF) (EGFH) (GCHA)
  • QUATERN:  16 lines–four quatrains–each line 8 syllables–repeating refrain–line 1-line 6–line 11–line 16
  • QUINZAINE:  Un-rhymed–15 syllables–7-5-3–First line makes a statement–next two lines ask a question relating to it. (Name comes from French word–qunize–which means fifteen)
  • REPETITION: repeats the same word or phrase over and over throughout the poem.
  • REVERSE:  reads the same backward or forward–can have the same meaning or two different meanings.
  • REVERSE CINQUAIN: 5 line stanza22 syllables in reverse=2-8-6-4-2
  • RHYME: abab–xaxa–aabb–aaaa–axaa–abba–axxa–abcabc
  • RICTAMETER: (similar to Cinquain) 9 lines- 50 syllables–2-4-6-8-10-8-6-4-2–first word and last word are the same.
  • RIDDLE: Rhymed or un-rhymed–poses a question devised to require clever or unexpected thinking to get the answer
  • RISPETTO: 2 quatrains–8–8 syllable lines–Rhyme: ababccdd–iambic tetrameter
  • RUBA’I:  4 line stanza–AABA rhyme
  • RUBAIYAT: multiple 4 line stanzas with a AABA rhyme
  • SAN-SAN: 7 lines–Rhyme: abcabdcd–repeats three subjects three times
  • SAPPHIC:  4 lines, 38 syllables–first three lines have 11 syllables each- fourth line has 5 syllables plus a particular meter: in the first three lines, two trochees, followed by a dactyl, followed by two more trochees; in the last, one dactyl and one trochee.
  • SEA SHANTY:  A work song for sailors, sometimes called a sea chanty or chantie.
  • SEDOKA:  6 lines–38 syllables–5-7-7-5-7-7–un-rhymed–(2 Katautas–each Katauta has a different perspective)
  • SENRYU:   17 syllables–three un-rhymed lines–regards humans and emotions–5-7-5
  • SEPTOLET:  7 lines–14 words–two parts–line break can be at any #-same thought in each part creates a picture
  • SHADORMA: 6 lines–26 syllables–3-5-3-3-7-5
  • SHAPE:  The  poem takes on the shape of its subject.
  • SONNET–ENGLISH: 3 Qutrains (4 line stanzas) and 1 Couplet (2 line stanza) equals 14 lines–10 syllables each line– Rhyme: abab cdcd efef gg–problem posed in the first 12 lines/Volta=solution in last 2 lines
  • SONNET–ITALIAN: 1 Octave (8 line stanza) and 1 Sestet (6 line stanza) equals 14 lines–10 syllables each line– Rhyme: abba abba cdcdcd–problem posed in the first 12 lines/Volta=solution in last 2 lines
  • SYLLABIC RHYME: a specific number of syllables per line or stanza–any number of lines–any rhyme scheme
  • SYLLABIC VERSE:  a specific number of syllables per line or per stanza, does not focus on stressed or unstressed feet
  • SYLLABLE LUNE: 3 lines–13 syllables–5-3-5
  • TANKA:   Five lines, 31 syllables–pivotal turn on the third line–5-7-5-7-7
  • TERZA RIMA:Three line stanzas (tercets)–Interlocking rhyme, called a chain rhyme–No set length but pattern often is: ABA–BCB–CDC–DED–E or EE–often tells a story
  • TERZANELLE:  Combination of the villanelle and the terza rima. 19 lines–for exact form and instructions visit Shadow Poetry–Terzanelle form.
  • TETRACTYS:  20 syllables–5 lines–1-2-3-4-10–double tetractys would invert: 1-2-3-4-10-10-4-3-2-1
  • TILUS: 10 syllables–2 parts–Part 1: Line 1=6 syllables/Line 2=3 syllables—Part 2: Line 3=1 syllable (Subject=nature)
  • TREE OF LIFE:  an invented verse form written in the shape of a tree. Created by Christina Jusaumme who requests the subject of the poem be uplifting. 19 lines–syllabic, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-4-4-4-4-4-4–unrhymed–centered on page.
    TRINET: 7 lines–2words-2words-6words-6words-2words-2words-2words–centered looks like 3 crosses
  • TRIOLET:   Stanza poem-eight lines. Rhyme scheme: ABaAabAB–first, fourth and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines.
  • TRIQUAIN:  7 lines–48 syllables–3-6-9-12-9-6-3
  • TRITINA:  three, three-line stanzas, and a final concluding line. Three “end words” are used to conclude the lines of each stanza, in a set pattern of ABC, CAB, BCA, and all three end words appear together in the final line. 
  • TROCHEE:  2 quatrains–48 syllables–7-5-7-5 –7-5-7-5– Rhyme: a-b-a-b or a-b-c-b
  • TROLANN: 4 quatrains.  Each quatrain begins with the same letter. Rhyme scheme: abab.
    Second stanza uses the second letter of the first line of the first stanza to write the second stanza.
    Each line in the second stanza begins with that same letter.Third and Fourth stanzas follow the same pattern.
      (Click here for examples other than on this site)
    TYBURN: 6 lines–26 syllables–first 4 lines rhyme aa-bb and are descriptive 2 syllable words–last 2 lines rhyme and line 5 includes lines 1 and 2 in it’s syllables 5 thru 8 and line 6 includes lines 3 and 4 in it’s syllables 5 thru 8.
  • VILLANELLE: 19 lines–5 Tercets–1 Quatrain–2 Refrains–2 Repeating Rhymes
  • WORD LUNE:  3 lines—-3 words-5 words-3 words

Some Links to Poetry sites :

Shadow Poetry:  Introduction to Poetry Types

Poets.org–Poetic Forms and Techniques

Different Types of Poetry

7 Basic Rhyme Schemes

How to tell if a Poem is an Ode

Ekphrastic Poetry

Blank Poetry Writing Challenge and Worksheet

Poetry Dances–Popular Poetry Types

Syllable Counter for Poems

Forms of Waka Poetry:  Katauta–Sedoka–Choka–Tanka

Guidelines for writing a Haibun in English–PDF

The FloretteHow To Write a Sonnet Poem in 7 Steps


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