Writing good poetry can be incredibly challenging, and sometimes just trying to understand it can be boring. But if you think writing poetry requires a minor in rocket skill, think again .
There are thus many unlike types of poems, and many have identical few rules. All you have to do is select a dash that appeals to you and let your creativity stream !
12 Different Types of Poems
Below is a list of some of the most common types of poetry, their main characteristics, and celebrated examples of each.
You may prefer to read certain types of poems, while for other types you may enjoy writing your own ! Familiarize yourself with these different styles and see if any spark your resource .
Sonnets are practically synonymous with Shakespeare, but there are actually two different kinds of this celebrated poetic shape. Having originated in 13th hundred Italy, the sonnet normally deals with love and has two common forms : the Petrarchan ( named for its celebrated practitioner, the poet Petrarch ) and the Shakespearean ( besides known as the English sonnet ). Each type contains 14 lines but comes with its own set of rules .
Characteristics and Rules :
- 2 stanzas
- Presents an argument, observation, or question in the first 8 lines
- Turn (or “volta”) between 8th and 9th lines
- Second stanza answers the question or issue posed in the first
- Rhyme Scheme: ABBA, ABBA, CDECDE
- 3 quatrains (4 lines each) and a couplet (2 lines)
- Couplet usually forms a conclusion
- Rhyme scheme: ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG
Example of a Sonnet
Shakespeare ’ s Sonnet 130
My mistress ’ eyes are nothing like the sun ;
Coral is far more crimson than her lips ’ red ;
If snow be blank, why then her breasts are dun ;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her oral sex.
I have seen roses damask ’ vitamin d, loss and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheek ;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress smack.
I love to hear her talk, however well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound ;
I grant I never saw a goddess go ;
My schoolmarm, when she walks, treads on the flat coat :
And yet, by eden, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with delusive compare .
Villanelles have even more specific rules than sonnets. fortunately, many of the lines are repetitions, but this means you ’ ll have to take concern to make those lines meaningful .
Villanelle Characteristics and Rules
- 19 lines
- 5 stanzas of 3 lines each
- 1 closing stanza of 4 lines
- Rhyme scheme: ABA, ABA, ABA, ABA, ABA, ABAA
- Line 1 repeats in lines 6, 12, and 18
- Line 3 repeats in lines 9, 15, and 19
Examples of Villanelles
You might remember writing a few of these bet on in grade school, because not alone are these poems short, but they can be identical fun to write .
The haiku originated in seventeenth hundred Japan. Although they normally refer to nature, the alone real rule applies to the number of syllables in each agate line, so you can let your imagination run fantastic with this one .
Haiku Characteristics and Rules
- 3 lines
- Line 1 contains 5 syllables
- Line 2 contains 7 syllables
- Line 3 contains 5 syllables
Example of Haiku
Matsuo Bashō, “ By the Old Temple ” :
By the old temple,
smasher blossoms ;
a man treading rice .
4. Ekphrastic Poems
Ekphrastic poems don ’ thyroxine actually have specific rules, but they do speak of another function of art .
Ekphrasis comes from the greek word for “ description, ” and that ’ s precisely what this poem should do : vividly describe a paint, statue, photograph, or story. One celebrated example is found in the Iliad, where Homer refers to Achilles ’ shield .
Examples of Ekphrastic Poetry
5. Concrete Poems
Concrete poetry is designed to take a particular form or kind on the page. Poets can manipulate spacing or layout to emphasize a theme or important element in the text, or sometimes they can take the literal shape of their subjects .
Example of Concrete Poetry
“ The Altar ” by George Herbert was intended to resemble a church altar :
A break ALTAR, Lord, thy handmaid rears,
Made of a center and cemented with tears ;
Whose parts are as thy hand did frame ;
No workman ’ south tool hath touch ’ d the like.
A HEART entirely
Is such a stone,
As nothing but
Thy prisoner of war ’ radius doth cut.
Wherefore each part
Of my heavily heart
Meets in this ensnare
To praise thy name.
That if I luck to hold my peace,
These stones to praise thee may not cease.
Oh, let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,
And sanctify this ALTAR to be thine .
The elegy is another type of poem that lacks particular rules, but it normally is written in mourning following a death. They can be written for a especial person, or treat the subject of loss more by and large .
Example of an Elegy
One celebrated example of an elegy is Walt Whitman ’ s “ O Captain, My Captain, ” which Whitman wrote following the character assassination of Abraham Lincoln :
O Captain ! My captain ! rise up and hear the bells ;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills ;
For you bouquets and ribbon ’ vitamin d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding ;
For you they call, the swaying bulk, their eager faces turning ;
here captain ! dear father !
This arm below your head ;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You ’ ve fallen cold and dead .
My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still ;
My father does not feel my branch, he has no pulse nor will ;
The ship is anchor ’ d safe and fathom, its ocean trip closed and done ;
From fearful trip, the victor transport, comes in with object win ;
Exult, O shores, and call, O bells !
But I, with doleful tread,
Walk the deck my master lies,
Fallen cold and dead .
Epigrams are short, witty, and often satirical poems that normally take the form of a couple or quatrain ( 2-4 lines in length ) .
Example of an Epigram
An example of this brain is provided by Samuel Taylor Coleridge :
Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fritter,
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet .
Epigrams are not single to poetry. They are besides normally used as literary devices and in speeches. John F. Kennedy ’ s celebrated quote, “ Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind ” is one such case .
Limericks are humorous poems that have a more discrete rhythm. Their subject matter is sometimes unrefined, but constantly designed to offer laughs .
Limerick Characteristics and Rules
• 5 lines
• 2 longer lines ( normally 7-10 syllables )
• 2 shorter lines ( normally 5-7 syllables )
• 1 conclusion tune to bring the jest home ( 7-10 syllables )
• Rhyme system : AABBA
Examples of Limericks
There once was an old man of Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket
His daughter, called Nan,
Ran off with a serviceman,
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
A fantastic shuttlecock is the pelican,
His beak can hold more than his beli-can.
He can take in his beak
Food adequate for a week
But I ’ meter damned if I see how the heli-can .
—Dixon Lanier Merritt
Ballads normally take a narrative form to tell us stories. They are frequently arranged in quatrains, but the form is loose adequate that writers can easily modify it .
Ballad Characteristics and Rules
• typically arranged in groups of 4 lines
• Rhyme dodge : ABAB or ABCB
Examples of Ballads
“ Annabel Lee ” by Edgar Allan Poe ( first gear two stanza ) :
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the ocean,
That a maid there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee ;
And this inaugural she lived with no early thought
Than to love and be loved by me .
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the ocean,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraph of Heaven
Coveted her and me .
Some songs fit the ballad definition and have been passed devour today. See this excerpt from the Irish ballad “ Danny Boy ” :
Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain slope
The summer ’ randomness gone, and all the flowers are dying
‘ Tis you, ‘ titanium you must go and I must bide .
An epitaph is much like an elegy, entirely light. Epitaphs normally appear on gravestones, but they can besides be humorous. There are no specific rules for epitaph or their rhyme schemes .
Examples of Epitaphs
From William Shakespeare ’ s gravestone :
good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the debris enclosed here.
Blessed be the world that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves by bones .
“ Epitaph ” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Heap not on this pitcher
Roses that she loved therefore well :
Why bewilder her with roses,
That she can not see or smell ?
She is felicitous where she lies
With the dust upon her eyes .
Odes address a specific person, thing, or consequence. The ode is believed to have been invented by the ancient Greeks, who would sing their odes. Modern odes follow an irregular model and are not required to rhyme .
Example of an Ode
“ Ode to the West Wind ” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Scatter, as from an unextinguish ’ five hundred fireplace
Ashes and sparks, my words among world !
Be through my lips to unawaken ’ d earth
The trumpet of a prophecy ! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind ?
12. Free Verse
spare poetry is precisely what its name implies. There are no rules, and writers can do whatever they choose : to rhyme or not, to establish any rhythm. free poetry is often used in contemporary poetry .
Example of a Free Verse Poem
“ A Noiseless Patient Spider ” by Walt Whitman
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark ’ vitamin d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark ’ d how to explore the vacant huge besiege,
It launch ’ five hundred forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever indefatigably speeding them .
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in illimitable oceans of space,
Ceaselessly contemplation, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form ’ d, till the ductile anchor have,
Till the ethereal thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul .
Tips for Writing Poetry
placid need a little extra nudge to get started ? There ’ s no better way to learn than by reading some great poetry .
You can besides check out our post on how to write a poem so you can get inspired to start write .
Do you have a favorite poem? Feel free to share it with us in the comments below!
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As a web log writer for TCK Publishing, Kaelyn loves crafting fun and helpful content for writers, readers, and creative minds alike. She has a degree in International Affairs with a minor in italian Studies, but her true passion has always been writing. Working remotely allows her to do even more of the things she loves, like traveling, cooking, and spend clock with her kin .