Types of Poetry and Rhyme Scheme

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Last updated: December 12, 2019

Poetic foot
A poetic foot is two syllables. In poetry, rhythm is measured by these small groups of syllables.

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Iambic pentameter
A type of meter that is used in poetry and drama. The word ‘iambic’ describes the type of foot that is used. The word ‘pentameter’ indicates that a line has five of these ‘feet’ or 10 syllables.

Abecedarian
poems that are now most commonly used as mnemonic devices and word games for children, such as those written by Dr. Seuss and Edward Gorey.

Anaphora
As one of the world’s oldest poetic techniques, these are used in much of the world’s religious and devotional poetry, including numerous Biblical Psalms.

Ballad
Their subject matter dealt with religious themes, love, tragedy, domestic crimes, and sometimes even political propaganda.

Blank verse
unrhymed poetry. Ex: Paradise Lost

Cinquain
‘ababb’ ex: Porphyria’s Lover

Clerihew
‘aabb aabb’; These poems are not satirical or abusive, but they target famous individuals and reposition them in an absurd or commonplace setting, often with an oversimplified and slightly garbled

Couplet
‘aa’, but usually occurs as ‘aa bb cc dd…’. Rhyming for these types of poems are one of the simplest rhyme schemes in poetry. Ex: “Prologue to the Canterbury Tales”

Cento
From the Latin word of ‘patchwork’, this type of poem is made up of lines from poems from other poets.

Dramatic Monologue
The poet speaks through an assumed voice–a character, a fictional identity, or a persona

Elegy
This traditional poem mirrors three stages of loss.

First, there is a lament, then praise for the idealized dead, and finally consolation and solace.

Enclosed rhyme
‘abba’

Epic
Elements that typically distinguish these poems include superhuman deeds, fabulous adventures, highly stylized language, and a blending of lyrical and dramatic traditions

Found poem
The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.

Limerick
A popular form in children’s verse, this poem is often comical, nonsensical, and sometimes even lewd.

Monorhyme
‘aaaaa.

..’, an identical rhyme on every line, common in Latin and Arabic

Ode
Originally accompanied by music and dance, and later reserved by the Romantic poets to convey their strongest sentiments

Ottava rima
‘abababcc’; Ex: ‘Don Juan’

Oulipo
Although poetry and mathematics often seem to be incompatible areas of study, this type of poem seeks to connect them

Rhyme royal
‘Ababbcc’; used in Canterbury Tales: Prioress’ Tale

Sapphic
This poem dates back to Ancient Greece and is named for the poet Sappho, who left behind many poem fragments written in an unmistakable meter

Sonnet
14 lines; this type of poem is a popular classical form that has compelled poets for centuries.

“A little sound or song”.Three types: Petrarchan, Shakespearean, & Spenserian

Terza Rima
Invented by the Italian poet Dante Alighiere in the late thirteenth century to structure his three part epic poem. “Divine Comedy”

Triplet
‘Aaa’; often repeating like the couplet

4 types of imagery
1. Visual(sight) 2. Auditory(sound) 3. Olfactory(smell) 4. Tactile(touch)

Assonance
Repetition in vowel sounds

Alliteration/Consonance
Repetition in consonant sounds.

Example: “Peter Piper picked…”

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