Writing Poetry

Poetic Forms - Types Of Poems

Poetry is a genre that has a lot of variation. Some poems 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:
Sun
Poems Don't Have to Rhyme

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):
Cinquain Template-Word Count
Cinquain Template-Syllable Count
Cinquain Template-Parts of Speech


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:
Emotion Poem Template (PDF)
Emotion Poem Template-5 senses (PDF)

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)

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.


  • Villanelle based on Matthew 25:40 - You Have Done It Unto Me

  • Valentine's Day poem in Villanelle Form - He's My Man

  • Villanelle By Elizabeth Bishop (1911- 1979) - One Art


Try writing a villanelle yourself:
Villanelle Template (PDF)


Resources On The Web


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