Poetic Forms

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Last updated: December 16, 2019

Acrostic
Definition – A Poem , Word Puzzle , or another composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words. Rules – This poem have to be written going down the page vertically . You choose a word to fill in . Each letter in the word has to make out a word or words unless it is a one letter word . To make a Acrostic poem you don’t have to rhyme unless you want it to rhyme .Rhyme scheme – There is no specific rhyme scheme to making this poem Meter – Do not have one , and this poem isn’t necessarily written in stanzas there written in lines that doesn’t have a certain stopping point

Ballad (Lyrical)
Characteristics of a lyrical balladEasy to understand languageRecurrence of certain lines or intervals Can have interrogative formOffer a direct message about a certain event. Definition A simple narrative poem of folk origin, composed in short stanzas and adapted for singing.

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Ballads usually are iambic with alternating tetrameter and trimeter. Rhyme Scheme The rhyme scheme usually for a ballad is abcb or abab. In The Tyger poem that rhyme scheme is aabb. Meter The meter for The Tyge is trochaic tetrameter.

Blank Verse
definition-unrhymed verse, especially the unrhymed iambic pentameter most frequently used in English dramatic, epic, and reflective verse.Characteristics of a Blank Verse PoemHas no rhyme schemeIt is written in iambic pentameter which means it consists of lines with five feet. Each foot is two syllables long, the first syllable is stressed and the second is unstressedIt is good for drama and long narrative poems, these poems are also very descriptive and reflective

Cinquain + The American Cinquain
Definition – A cinquain is a poem or stanza, which consists of five lines. It is also known as a quintain or a quintetRhyme Scheme – There is no rhyme scheme for a cinquain.

Meter – Iambs are usually used for the meter of a cinquain. An iamb is a two syllable unit where the stress falls on the second unit.Cinquains are used for multiple things because they’re short and easy to change.

Dramatic Monologue
Definition: A dramatic monologue is a long uninterrupted speech during a critical moment when the character reveals him or herself, and the dramatic situation. There are also other characters on stage.

Rhyme scheme: Dramatic monologues are generally written in freestyle. Meter: Dramatic monologues are usually written in iambic pentameters, where there is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable in each foot.General topic: Poems written in this form are meant to be dramatic. There is more than one person on the stage but just one speaker.

The poem usually suggest that the speaker is speaking to one specific person.Repetition or specific use of letters or words: There is no repetition or specific use of letters or words throughout them.

Ekphrasis
Definition: An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

Rhyme scheme: There is no rhyme scheme.Meter: No regular meterRepetition: There is no repetitionSpecific use of Letters: There is no specific use of letters or words throughout them.

Elegy
An elegy is a poem that expresses something sad and or bad.

It is a poem of mourning and reflection. In early ages the poem required an elegiac meter. A elegiac meter was made of couplets which was composed of a line of dactylic hexameter and followed by a line of dactylic pentameter. That was the traditional way of making an elegy but now, in the early ages, it is not required. What is required for a elegy is a memory of a tragedy. For example, someones death, a tragic event like 9/11 or just a big disaster like a hurricane or fire. An elegy is a flexible poem, which means you can practically write anything just as long as its sad and tragic.

Epigram
DefinitionEpigrams are short, clever poems with a twist at the ending.

Rhyme schemescouplets (two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme)quatrains (a stanza of four lines with alternate rhymes.)free verse (sometimes) Meter Epigrams are usually written in iambic pentameter. General topic sarcastic humorous, clever and straight to the point, much like the punchline of a joke. the subject is usually a single thought or event.written in a memorable form.Repetition There is no specific use of words or letters in epigrams because they use a diversity of languages and subjects.

Epistle
Epistle is a poem in form of a letter. There is no rhyme scheme or meter. It’s a poem that addresses someone or something directly. Poet has the freedom to write about anything.

There is a wide range of subject matter. It can be internal or external. The poem can be addressing to someone but doesn’t give the name to whoever is receiving it.

Free Verse
Free verse poems are a type of poetry which allows the poet to use different methods to their desires. This type of poetry has no regular meter or rhyme. Free verse doesn’t follow certain rhyme scheme.

Free verse is based on normal pauses and natural phrases unlike other types of poetry.

Ghazal
DefinitionA ghazal is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain that comes up at the end of the second line of the poem, with each line sharing the same meter. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression(rather than a form)of both the pain of loss or separation from something or someone and the beauty of love in spite of that pain.Rhyme schemeA ghazal poem doesn’t have a rhyme scheme. They typically don’t have to rhyme. They can rhyme but you most likely won’t find a rhyming ghazal poem.MeterA ghazal poem usually has a meter that has a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one. Which is trochee or trochaic and will most likely be an octameter or decameter.

Haiku
Definition: A haiku poem is a Japanese based poem. It also has 3 lines of 5,7,5 syllables. It also usually focuses on highly evocative allusions and comparisons.Rhyme Scheme:There is no specific way in writing a haiku. So there is no rhyme scheme. Meter:A haiku has a syllabic meter. Japanese verse counts sound units known as “on” or morae.

Traditional haiku consist of 17 on, in three phrases of five, seven, five on respectively. General Topic:The general topic of a haiku is nature. Most Japanese haikus focus on the natural world. Repetition:Some haikus have repetition.

Limerick
A limerick is a form of poetry, a rhyme scheme (aabba) , their 5 lines in every stanzas, that sometimes can be offensive with humorous intent.

One in five line has anapestic meter .The first, second and fifth lines are longer then the third and fourth lines. The standard form of a limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth rhyming with one another and having three feet of three syllables each and the shorter third and fourth lines also rhyming with each other, but having only two feet of three syllables.

Ode
“Ode” is a Greek word meaning to sing or chant. An Ode consists of three parts the Strophe, Antistrophe, then the Epode.Meter: In a normal Ode the meter is Iambic Pentameter throughout the poemRhyme Scheme: The rhyme starts as AABB for the first two parts before switching to ABAB for the final sectionThe exception is Irregular Odes, which doesn’t follow any of the rules. they are classified as an Ode by the way they are presented.

Specific types of Odes may have slight differences from the basic rules

Narrative Poetry
Narrative Poetry is a type of poem that represents a story or an event, it often uses the voices of the narrator or characters of the poem. It is told from the narrator’s point of view. The entire story is usually also written in metered verse. Narrative poems don’t follow much rules although that you have to tell about a series of an event or a story because that is what narrative poem must include. Narrative poems can be short or long.

When writing a narrative poem you can have a rhyme scheme or none at all. Most common narrative poems include epics, ballads, and idylls. Some tips on writing a narrative poems is writing from your heart because you are never wrong when writing a narrative poem if it is telling about an event or story that you want. Focus on your main character when writing your narrative poem and choose where the event is happening.

You should also consider using vivid words and adjectives to help the reader have a better picture and understanding about what your poetry is about. You can also have your poem broken into stanzas that can contain series of cinquains or rhyming couplets. Narrative poetry are mostly written in fictional forms, it can also be nonfictional and be told about a story about a war or biography of someone. The main purpose for a narrative poem is for entertainment, using imagery, figurative language and use different rhyme patterns to grab the readers attention.

Pantoum
Pantoum is a type of poem with a verse form consisting of three stanzas but thats not always the case. It has a set pattern within the poem of repetitive lines.

The pattern in each stanza is where the second and fourth line of each verse is repeated as the first and third of the next. A PANTOUM IS COMPOSED OF A SERIES OF STANZAS WITH 4 LINES CALLED QUATRAINS. RHYME SCHEME – no rhyme scheme METER – no regular meter GENERAL TOPIC -Since there is a lot of repeating word there is a sense of echoing.

REPETITION – Usually the last of the entire poem echoes the first line

Prose Poem
Written in paragraphs not in stanzasContain sentencesHas repetitionSometimes has poetic meterUsually the topic of these poems are imagesProse Poetry contain both attributes of poems and proseHas rhythmIt can contain rhyme and alliteration

Pastoral
What are Pastoral Poems? Pastoral poems are poems that romanticize life on rural, such as pastures, and usually written by urban authors. A lot, though not all, of these poems included Shepherds pursuing young pretty ladies, as shown in the poem “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe.Many of the topics in Pastoral poems incorporated ideas of love, death, politics (or rather the mocking of), and just the life in the country.

It also deals a lot with nature and lots of descriptions of nature. When reading this you’ll be most likely be calm, and peaceful. They are written in couplets

Rondeau (English)
The Rondeau is a rhyming poem that comes from France. Usually it consists of 10, 13, or 15 lines and 3 stanzas. Each line usually has 8 syllables except for refrains which have 4 syllables.

A Rondeau is written in an iambic pentameter or tetrameter.Rhyme Scheme1.One quintet (5 lines rhyming a, a, b, b, a); 2.One quatrain (4 lines rhyming a, a, b, plus refrain R); 3.One sestet (6 lines rhyming a, a, b, b, a plus refrain R);

Sestina
Definition: Sestina is a type of a poem that contains six stanzas, each stanza having six lines, while concluding seventh stanza having three lines called as envoi, that is also known as tornada. Rhyme Scheme:1. ABCDEF2. FAEBDC3.

CFDABE4. ECBFAD5. DEACFB6. BDFECA7. (envoi) ECA or ACEMeter: No regular meterRepetition or Specific use of words or letters: repetition of six end words of the first stanza that recur in the remaining poem.

Petrarchan Sonnet
14 lines total iambic pentameter The octave (first 8 lines) always has to be ABBAABBA.

The sestet (last 6 lines) can be cdecde or cdcdcd or other combination.The petrarchan sonnet presents an argument. The shift, or the volta, occurs between the 8th and 9th lines. This allows the author to show his or her point of view about the argument in the sestet

Spenserian Sonnet
Definitions: A sonnet is a fourteen line poem that can be broken down into four sections. These four sections are call quatrains.

A Spenserian Sonnet is a sonnet form that includes three quatrains or three sections and a couplet that follows. This was invented by Edmund Spenser. Spenserian Sonnets are mainly about love.

Rhyme Scheme: Sonnet – The most common English rhyme scheme for sonnets would be ABAB/CDCD/EFEF/GG. By using this rhyme scheme, poets should be able to get four quatrains. Spenserian Sonnet – a b a b b c b c c d c d e e is the rhyme scheme Edmund Spenser would use in substitution for the usual sonnet rhyme scheme. Meter: Sonnet- It is written in iambic pentameter with ten beats per line.

It is also made up of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables. Repetition: In the poem above, there is repetition going on in the first four lines. The man writes the girl’s name and it is washed away.

The next time he goes, he does the same thing and writes the girl’s name in the sand. The tide then comes and washes it away.Specific Use of Letters or Words: There is alliteration throughout the poem above. “But came the waves and washed it away: Again I write it with a second hand.” This uses alliteration by repeating the letter “w”.

“Where whenas death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew.” This repeats the letters “w” and “l”.

Shakespearean Sonnet
Shakespearean Sonnets were influenced by Petrarchan Sonnets. It is a type of lyric poetry that contains 14 lines, three quatrains, and a couplet.

The Rhyme Scheme typically used in Shakespearean Sonnets consist of an ABAB CDCD EFEF GG pattern. They are written in Iambic Pentameter. The sonnets mostly deal with love or something along those lines. They can be a continuation of a previous sonnet.

Tanka
What is a tanka?-The Tanka is a form of Japanese poetry called waka. The tanka is one of the oldest version of poetry which originated in the 17th century and translates to short songs. This quickly became famous among the nobles in the Japanese Imperial Court where they competed in tanka contests.

Definition-Tanka poems are about the nature, seasons, love, sadness, and strong emotions. In a tanka poem, there are 5 lines and 31 syllables. The lines are in a 5/7/5/7/7 format.

The first three numbers are called kami-no-ku, or upper phase. The last numbers are called shimo-no-ku, or lower phrase. The tanka has no rhyme scheme and it depend on ryhmes to make it a tanka.

In tankas, there is heavy useage of similes, metaphors and personification.

Terza Rima
Definition: Terza rima is a type of poetry consisting of 10 or 11 syllable lines arranged in three-line “tercets”.Rhyme Scheme: aba, bcb, cdc, ded, etcMeter: A terza rimas meter is iambic pentameter. There is no Repetition or Specific use of Letters or Words

Triolet
A triolet consists of a stanza with eight lines. These eight line include two rhymes and two refrains. One refrain is the repetition of the first line at the fourth line and the seventh line of the stanza. The second refrain is the repetition of the second line at the eighth line. You could use personification or other types of figures of speech in your refrains.

A refrain is a repeated line or a number of lines in a poem or song. This is the Rhyme Scheme. A B a – Rhymes with 1st line. A – Identical to 1st line. a – Rhymes with 1st line. b – Rhymes with 2nd line. A – Identical to 1st line.

B – Identical to 2nd line.Most if not all lines in a Triolet are in Iambic Tetrameter. Try to end your poem with a different meaning, than with the one you originally started in the beginning of your poem.

Villanelle
Definition: The highly structured villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines. Rhyme Scheme:(A1) refrain 1Line 2 (b)(A2) refrain 2Line 4 (a)Line 5 (b)(A1) refrain 1Line 7 (a)Line 8 (b)(A2) refrain 2Line 10 (a)Line 11 (b)(A1) refrain 1Line 13 (a)Line 14 (b)(A2) refrain 2Line 16 (a)Line 17 (b)(A1) refrain 1(A2) refrain 2Here the letters “a” and “b” denote two rhyming sounds, while “A” indicates refrain and the numerals 1 and 2 denote refrain 1 and refrain 2 respectively.Meter: No regular meter

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