• The definition of poetry is a type of literature that is written in meter.  Meter in poetry is the rhythm created by the syllables in the words as you read them. 
    Some Poetry Forms
    Detailed below are explanations of Poetry Forms. There are many poetry forms such as ballads, sonnets, odes, epitaphs, elegies and many more. What do they all mean and what are the differences in these various forms?
    Listed below are many definitions of Poetry Forms.  A form is the generic term for the organizing principle of a literary work. In poetry, form is described in terms elements like rhyme, meter, and stanzaic pattern.

    ABC poem
    An ABC poem has 5 lines that create a mood, picture, or feeling. Lines 1 through 4 are made up of words, phrases or clauses - and the first word of each line is in alphabetical order from the first word. Line 5 is one sentence, beginning with any letter.
    • Acrostic or Name Poem
      A name poem tells about the word. It uses the letters of the word for the first letter of each line.
    • Ballad
      A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain.
    • Blank verse  
      Poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Blank verse is often unobtrusive and the iambic pentameter form often resembles the rhythms of ordinary speech. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in blank verse.
    • Carpe diem  
      A Latin expression that means "seize the day." Carpe diem poems have the theme of living for today.
    • Cinquain
      A cinquain has five lines.
      Line 1 is one word (the title)
      Line 2 is two words that describe the title.
      Line 3 is three words that tell the action
      Line 4 is four words that express the feeling
      Line 5 is one word that recalls  - or is a synonym of - the title
    • Couplet
      A couplet has rhyming stanzas each made up of two lines. Shakespearean sonnets usually end in a couplet.
    • Elegy  
      A sad and thoughtful poem lamenting the death of a person. An example of this type of poem is Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard."
    • Epic  
      A long, serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure. Two of the most famous epic poems are the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer and the epic poem of Hiawatha.
    • Epitaph
      An epitaph is a commemorative inscription on a tomb or mortuary monument written in praise of a deceased person. 
    • Free verse (also vers libre)  
      Poetry composed of either rhymed or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern or expectation.
    • Haiku
      A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Haiku reflects on some aspect of nature.
    • Idyll, or Idyl  
      Either a short poem depicting a peaceful, idealized country scene, or a long poem that tells a story about heroes of a bye gone age.
    • Limerick  
      A short sometimes bawdy, humorous poem of consisting of five anapaestic lines – anapaestic means three syllables with the stress on the third. Lines 1, 2, and 5 of a Limerick have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 and 4 have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.
    • Lyric
      A poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. The term lyric is now generally referred to as the words to a song.
    • Quatrain
      A stanza or poem of four lines.
      Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme.
      Lines 1 and 3 may or may not rhyme.
      Rhyming lines should have a similar number of syllables.
    • Rhyme  
      A rhyme has the repetition of the same or similar sounds at the end of two or more words most often at the ends of lines. There are several derivatives of this term which include double rhyme, Triple rhyme, rising rhyme, falling rhyme, Perfect and imperfect rhymes.
    • Senryu
      A short Japanese poem that is similar to a haiku in structure but treats human beings rather than nature, often in a humorous or satiric way.
    • Sonnet
      English (or Shakespearean) sonnets are lyric poems that are 14 lines long falling into three coordinate quatrains and a concluding couplet. Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnets are divided into two quatrains and a six-line sestet.
    • Tanka  
      A Japanese poem of five lines, the first and third composed of five syllables and the rest of seven.
    • Verse  
      A single metrical line of poetry, or poetry in general (as opposed to prose).

      “Poetry Forms.”  http://www.poetry-online.org/poetry-terms.htm.  4/12/09.
Last Modified on April 6, 2010