Writing Poetry

15 Easy Poetic Forms With Examples And Definitions

Poetry is a genre that has a lot of variation. Some forms of poetry are extremely structured, following a certain rhyme scheme and syllable count, while others allow more creative freedom.

Poetic Forms

Poetry comes in a variety of forms. Some forms have more structure than others. Some follow rules that have to do with rhyming, syllables, repetition, etc. Others are an expression that are fully in the hands of the author.


Explore these common forms, and give them a try.


ABC Poem


In an ABC poem, each line of the poem begins with a letter in the alphabet, starting with A and moving in order through Z.

Examples of ABC poems:



General Templates of ABC Poem (PDF):



Read More ABC Poems



Acrostic


This is a form of poetry where the first or last letters of each line create a name, word, or phrase.


You can find these words by looking vertically at the beginning or end of the lines.

Examples of Acrostic poems:


Read More Acrostic Poems



Bio Poem



A bio poem is used to reveal information to the reader about the poet.


Line 1: First name

Line 2: Who is... (descriptive words that describe you)

Line 3: Who is the brother/sister or son/daughter of...

Line 4: Who loves...(three ideas)

Line 5: Who feels...(three ideas)

Line 6: Who needs...(three ideas)

Line 7: Who gives...(three ideas)

Line 8: Who fears...(three ideas)

Line 9: Who would like to see...(three ideas)

Line 10: Who shares...(three ideas)

Line 11: Who is...(three ideas)

Line 12: Who is a resident of...(your town)

Line 13: Last name


Example of a Bio poem:


Tynea

Who is creative, loyal, and quiet.

Who is the sister of Travis.

Who loves writing, fall, and a good book.

Who feels excitement, anticipation, and joy.

Who needs quiet, sleep, and love.

Who fears crocodiles, losing loved ones, and knives.

Who would like to see miracles, more sunrises, and Ireland.

Who shares laughs, hugs, and advice.

Who is a writer, mother, and friend.

Who is a resident of Pennsylvania.

Lewis


Bio Poem Template (PDF)



Cinquain


A cinquain is a 5 line poem that follows a specific format. There are various types of cinquains. Some are created with a number of words or syllables in mind. Another form is created using various parts of speech.


Words:

Line 1- 1 word

Line 2- 2 words

Line 3- 3 words

Line 4- 4 words

Line 5- 1 word


Examples of cinquains based on word count:


Syllables:

Line 1-2 syllables

Line 2- 4 syllables

Line 3- 6 syllables

Line 4- 8 syllables

Line 5- 2 syllables


Examples of cinquains based on syllable count:


Morning by Tynea Lewis


Restless

Waiting for light

Darkness covers the earth

Until sun crests over the hill

Morning



Eucalyptus Tree House


Parts of Speech:

Line 1- noun

Line 2- 2 adjectives

Line 3- 3 -ing words

Line 4- a phrase

Line 5- another word for the noun from line 1


Example of a cinquain based on parts of speech:


Car by Tynea Lewis


Car

Fast, yellow

Speeding, swerving, moving

Carrying teenagers away

Transportation


General Templates for Cinquains (PDF):



Concrete


A concrete poem is written in a way that the words create the shape of the subject of the poem.


Examples of Concrete Poems:



Diamante


A diamante poem is a 7 line poem that looks like a diamond. It does not have to rhyme.


It can be used to describe 1 topic or 2 opposite topics.


Line 1: 1 word (subject/noun)

Line 2: 2 adjectives that describe line 1

Line 3: 3 -ing words that relate to line 1

Line 4: 4 nouns (first 2 relate to line 1, last 2 relate to line 7--if you're writing about opposite topics)

Line 5: 3 -ing words that relate to line 7

Line 6: 2 adjectives that describe line 7

Line 7: 1 word (subject/noun)


Examples of Diamante Poems:


General Templates for Diamante Poems

Synonym Diamante (PDF)

Antonym Diamante-color coded (PDF)


Emotion Poem


An emotion poem is used to describe various emotions, good or bad, using descriptive language.


There are a couple different emotion poem formats to follow, and you could always come up with your own.


Line 1: State the emotion

Line 2: Describe the emotion as a color

Line 3: It happens when...

Line 4: It sounds like...

Line 5: And smells like...

Line 6: Restate the emotion


Example of an Emotion poem:

Anger by Tynea Lewis


Anger

Is the color of lava spilling from a volcano.

It happens when a vase shatters into slivers on the floor.

It sounds like a car screeching to a halt

And smells like burning toast.

Anger


Line 1: State the emotion

Line 2: It smells like...

Line 3: It tastes like...

Line 4: It sounds like...

Line 5: It feels like...

Line 6: It looks like...

Line 7: (Emotion) is...


Example of an emotion poem:

Love by Tynea Lewis


Love

It smells like a deep red rose opening in the sun.

It tastes like delectable chocolate melting in your mouth.

It sounds like the birds chirping on a clear spring morning.

It feels like a fire on a cold winter's night.

It looks like an ocean scene painted by God.

Love is unpredictable and breathtaking.


Try writing an emotion poem yourself:


Free Verse


Free verse poems do not follow any rules. Their creation is completely in the hands of the author.


Rhyming, syllable count, punctuation, number of lines, number of stanzas, and line formation can be done however the author wants in order to convey the idea.


There is no right or wrong way to create these poems.


Examples of Free Verse Poems:

Haiku


This is a form of Japanese poetry that follows a specific syllable pattern.


It's made up of 3 lines, consisting of 17 syllables in total. Haikus are usually about a specific part of nature.


Line 1: 5 syllables

Line 2: 7 syllables

Line 3: 5 syllables


Examples of Haikus



Try writing a haiku yourself:

Haiku Template (PDF)


Read More Haiku


Limerick


A limerick is a short, humorous poem that follows a determined rhyme scheme of AABBA.


This five line poem also follows a syllable count.


Line 1: 7-10 syllables

Line 2: 7-10 syllables

Line 3: 5-7 syllables

Line 4: 5-7 syllables

Line 5: 7-10 syllables


Examples of Limericks:



Try writing a limerick yourself:

Limerick Template (PDF)


Read More Limericks

Narrative


A narrative poem tells the story of an event in the form of a poem.


Examples of Narrative Poems:

Pantoum


A pantoum is a poem that uses a lot of repetition. To create this poem, follow these steps.


  • Write a quatrain (4 line stanza). Writing emotional lines usually works best.
  • Take lines 2 and 4 of the first stanza and make them lines 1 and 3 of the second stanza.
  • Take lines 2 and 4 of the second stanza and make them lines 1 and 3 of the third stanza.
  • Continue your poem using this pattern.
  • For your last stanza, go back to the first stanza of the poem. Make line 3 of the first stanza line 2 of your last. Make line 1 of the first stanza line 4 in your last.


Example of pantoum:

Her Smile


Try writing a pantoum yourself:

Pantoum Template (PDF)


Sonnet


A sonnet is a 14 line poem with a specific rhyme scheme. Each type of sonnet follows a different rhyming scheme.


English (Shakespearean) Sonnet


14 line poem

3 quatrains (4 line stanzas) followed by 1 couplet (2 line stanza)

Rhyming scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG


All We Will Be By Tynea Lewis


He sits, paying no attention to me.

I wonder what is going through his head.

It hurts knowing friends is all we will be.

His unexpected glace turns my face red.


His mud brown eyes are so piercing and deep.

Then a smile fills his flawless, tanned face.

If only into his heart I could creep.

The slow motion moment makes my heart race.


Our time together is a dream come true

But I fear he can see into my heart.

When I am with him, I don't feel so blue,

But something new won't be able to start.


Since nothing will be, onward I must go.

These feelings I have to hide and not show.


Example of English (Shakespearean) Sonnet:


Italian (Petrarchan) Sonnet



  1. 14 line poem
  2. 1 octave (8 line stanza) followed by 1 sestet (6 line stanza)
  3. Rhyming scheme of ABBAABBA CDCCDC (or CDECDE)


When I Consider How My Light Is Spent By John Milton


When I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,

And that one talent which is death to hide

Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest he returning chide;

"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"

I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent


That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need

Either man's work or his own gifts; who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state

Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed

And post o'er land and ocean without rest:

They also serve who only stand and wait."


Spenserian Sonnet



  1. 14 line poem
  2. 3 quatrains followed by 1 couplet
  3. Rhyming scheme of ABAB BCBC CDCD EE


Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599)


What guile is this, that those her golden tresses

She doth attire under a net of gold;

And with sly skill so cunningly them dresses,

That which is gold or hair, may scarce be told?


Is it that men's frail eyes, which gaze too bold,

She may entangle in that golden snare;

And being caught may craftily enfold

Their weaker hearts, which are not yet well aware?


Take heed therefore, mine eyes, how ye do stare

Henceforth too rashly on that guileful net,

In which if ever ye entrapped are,

Out of her bands ye by no means shall get.


Folly it were for any being free,

To covet fetters, though they golden be.


General Templates for Sonnets (PDF):



Tanka


A tanka is another Japanese form of poetry that follows a syllable format.


This poem is composed of 5 lines. Lines 1 and 3 have 5 syllables. Lines 2, 4, and 5 contain 7 syllables each.


Line 1- 5 syllables

Line 2- 7 syllables

Line 3- 5 syllables

Line 4- 7 syllables

Line 5- 7 syllables


Tanka examples:

Journey of a Dewdrop By Paul Holmes


One diamond dewdrop

Sparkles in morning sunlight

Then, slowly drips down

A dandelion's green stem

Nourishing its thirsty roots.


Autumn's Snowflakes


Try writing a tanka yourself:

Tanka Template (PDF)



Villanelle


5 tercets (3 line stanzas) with ABA rhyme scheme


Followed by 1 quatrain (4 line stanza) with ABAA rhyme scheme


The first and third lines of the tercet are alternately repeated as the last lines of the remaining stanzas.



Villanelle Examples:


The End By Tynea Lewis

No one told me about this pain.

Everything hurts, even my pride.

It's these emotions I am forced to contain.


Tears have fallen from my eyes like a steady rain.

Nothing can take back those nights I've cried.

No one told me about this pain.


My feelings I cannot even explain.

To you, my heart was open wide.

Now it's these emotions I have to contain.


I'm at the point where I feel nothing but shame

Because I thought you were going to be my guide.

If only I was warned about this pain.


With you is where I wanted to remain.

Now I have to continue on with a long stride,

But these emotions I am forced to contain.


Please tell me our relationship was not in vain.

I hope to not regret having tried.

No one told me about this pain.

It's these emotions I am forced to contain.


Try writing a villanelle yourself:

Villanelle Template (PDF)

Resources On The Web


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