Poetic Forms

Writing poetry has become a learning experience for me. I’ve favored free verse in the past. In fact, I still do. Rhyme and meter have always been a challenge for me – at least rhyme that doesn’t sound forced.

I enjoy reading the different poets I follow here at WordPress, especially when a poem flows so smoothly that I don’t realize rhyme and structure are present until I finish reading it. I’m learning from these poets, and I’m learning as I try new forms to meet various poetry prompts and challenges.

Many of the forms I use are still new to me, so I’ve created this page to help remember them. I’m sure I’ll be using this as a reference well into the future.

Note each form listed below is a link to my poems written in that form.

Ken G.
 

Cascade
~ 4 (or more) three-line stanzas, without rhyme
~ 3 lines of the first verse used successively as last lines of following verses
~ line pattern A/B/C, d/e/A, f/g/B, h/i/C, (j/k/D, etc.)
~ longer poems may be created by having a longer first verse
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Cinquain
~ a five line poem formatted with
~ a syllable count of 2-4-6-8-2, or
~ a word count of 1-2-3-4-1, with the second & third lines as descriptors, the fourth line an emotion and the fifth line a synonym or reflection of the first line
     Butterfly Cinquain
          ~ 9 lines formatted with:
             ~ a syllable count of 2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2
             ~ creating a butterfly pattern
     ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Circular poem
~
the last word of the first line rhymes with the first word of the following line and so on, returning back to the first line, with lines of any length

Cleave
~ a poem without rhyme, meter or set length. Dividing the poem into left and right sides reveals two separate poems, in addition to the original

Clerihew
~ often silly, were first devised by Edmund Clerihew Bentley
~ the first line is the name of the subject (usually famous)
~ subject is placed in an absurd light, or with unknown or spurious attributes
~ rhyme scheme AABB, and often forced
~ irregular line length and meter
          ~ learn more at verse.org

Constanza
~ 5 or more 3-line stanzas
~ 8 syllables per line
~ rhyme pattern abb, acc, add, aee, aff, etc.
~ first lines combined also may be read as a poem
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Crossout/Blackout Poetry
~ a form of Found Poetry using existing text from a single outside source, with text crossed or blacked out, leaving a poem that flows from beginning to end

Echo verse
~ a poem with no set meter or line length, but with an echo of the last syllable (or two) following each line

Elevenie (11 words in 5 lines)
~ line 1 – one word, a noun
~ line 2 – two words describing the noun
~ line 3 – three words, explaining where, how of the noun
~ line 4 – four words with further explanation
~ line 5 – one word – outcome, conclusion

Found Poetry
~ existing texts from outside sources are refashioned, reordered and presented as poems
   ~ often from newspaper articles, books or other poems
   ~ Cross-out/Blackout Poetry is a form of Found Poetry
          ~ find more details at poets.org

Ghazal
~ five or more couplets, the same length, meter not required
~ first couplet rhymes; 1 to 3 words in 2nd lines repeated; rhyme – aA bA cA dA eA
~ (optional) internal rhyme in second lines, preceding repeated rhyme
~ possible naming or reference to author in last couplet
~ traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions, ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians
          ~ find more details at poets.org

Haibun
~ prose, often about a journey and in the first person
~ followed by a haiku or tanka

Haiku
~ a poem of three lines and a syllable count 5-7-5
~ More depth is given in this discussion of haiku

Hourglass Poetry
~ a poem with any number of stanzas, with 8 lines each
~ syllable progression of 5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5
~ centered text

Kyrielle
~ a poem of at least 3 quatrains, with lines of 8 syllables and a rhyme pattern of aabB, ccbB, ddbB, etc. or abaB, cbcB, dbdB, etc. or axaZ, bxbZ, cxcZ, etc. (the last line of each quatrain repeating) The fourth line of the first stanza is used as the fourth line of each succeeding stanza
     Kyrielle Sonnet
     ~ 14 lines formatted with:
          ~ 3 rhyming quatrains & 1 non-rhyming couplet
          ~ rhyme pattern aabB, ccbB, ddbB, AB or abaB, cbcB, dbdB, AB
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Lantern (Lanturne)
~ a poem with five lines and a syllable count of 1-2-3-4-1 — centered, giving it a shape similar to a Japanese lantern
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Lune (American Haiku)
~ three lines with a syllable count of 5-3-5, or a word count of 5-3-5

Magnetic Poetry
~ words provided at magneticpoetry.com are used to write a poem, then captured in a screenshot
~ might be considered Found Poetry

Minute Poetry
~ a poem with 3 stanzas with 8,4,4,4; 8,4,4,4; 8,4,4,4 syllable count
~ rhyme pattern – aabb, ccdd, eeff

Monotetra
~ a poem with stanzas of 4 lines
~ 8 syllables and 4 beats per line
~ line end-words within each stanza rhyme
~ the first 4 syllables in the fourth line of each stanza repeat
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Nocturne
~ a poem with a night scene

Nonet
~ a poem of nine lines and a syllable count of 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, with rhyme optional

Nove otto
~ a poem with nine lines, each having eight syllables in four beats, rhyme pattern aabccbddb
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Pantoum
~ a series of quatrains, with the second and fourth lines of each stanza repeated as the first and third lines of the next stanza. In addition, the first and third lines of the first stanza reappear as the fourth and second lines of the last stanza. Where possible, ideas of repeating lines shift (via punctuation, etc.)
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Renga
~ Collaborative poetry in which one poet writes the first stanza (hokku), which is 3 lines long, with 17 syllables. The next poet adds the second stanza, a couplet with seven syllables per line. There may be several stanzas, with writers alternating until the poem is complete.   I have participated in a form of renga at Carpe Diem, creating a “tan renga,” which is essentially a tanka.
          ~ find more details at poets.org

Rondelet
~ a poem of 7 lines, with 2 rhymes – AbAabbA
~ the refrain (A) has 4 syllables
~ the other lines have 8 syllables
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

San san
~ 8 lines, rhyme pattern a,b,c,a,b,d,c,d
~ with 3 terms or images repeated 3 times each

Sept
~ a poem with seven lines and a syllable count of 1-2-3-4-3-2-1

Shadorma
~ six line stanza(s) with a syllable syllable count of 3/5/3/3/7/5

Sijo (a Korean verse form related to haiku and tanka)
~ three lines of 14-16 syllables each
~ a total of 44-46 syllables
~ a pause near the middle of each line
       ~ first half of the line contains six to nine syllables
       ~ the second half should contain no fewer than five
Originally intended as songs, sijo can treat romantic, metaphysical, or spiritual themes. Whatever the subject, the first line introduces an idea or story, the second supplies a “turn,” and the third provides closure.
Modern Sijo are sometimes printed in six lines.

Sonnet
~ a poem consisting of 14 lines (iambic pentameter), 10 syllables each, with a particular rhyming scheme:
   ~ #1) abab cdcd efef gg
   ~ #2) abba cddc effe gg
   ~ #3) abba abba cdcd cd
~ A Shakespearean (English) sonnet has three quatrains and a couplet, and rhymes abab cdcd efef gg
~ An Italian sonnet is composed of an octave, rhyming abbaabba, and a sestet, rhyming cdecde or cdcdcd, or in some variant pattern, but with no closing couplet (Also, 11 syllables possible per line)
~ French sonnets follow in this same pattern, but normally have 12 syllables per line

Tanka
~ a poem with 5 lines and syllable count of 5-7-5-7-7
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Tilus [tee-loo-hz]
~ 3 lines regarding nature, similar to haiku form
~ syllable progression 6-3-1
~ last line is a summation

Trilonnet
~ a poem with 4 stanzas, 3 line each
~ 8 syllables per line
~ rhyme pattern abc, abc, abc, abc, dd
          ~ find more details at Shadow Poetry

Trilune created by Jane Dougherty)
~ 3 stanzas – each with 3 lines of 9 syllables
~ rhyme pattern abc, dec, fgc

Triolet
~ a stanza poem, with rhyme scheme ABaAabAB. (CAPITALS denote repeated lines)
~ commonly with 8 syllables per line, in iambic tetrameter

Tritina
~ a poem with three three-line stanzas and a fourth stanza of one line
~ the same three end words used in the first three stanzas, in this order in successive stanzas: 1,2,3; 3,1,2; 2,3,1
~ the last, one-line stanza using the three words in order – 1,2,3

 

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