Poetry Forms

A majority of the poetry forms found on this page are from the shadowpoetry.com website. Some of the more unusual forms are from The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics – Including Odd and Invented Forms by Lewis Putnam Turco. Also, there are some that were suggested to me and others that I found while perusing WordPress. I encourage you to try one or all of these poetry forms.

Acrostic: is a poem where the first letter of each line spells a word, usually using the same words as in the title. Many people use the same word count for each lin

Ae Freislighhe: Is an Irish syllable stanza form. It is hard to change it to versification in English so the main concentration is on rhyme scheme and syllables. Basically, it’s a quatrain stanza (4 lines) with 7 syllables per line. Lines 1 and 3 rhyme in triple rhymes. While lines 2 and 4 rhyme in double rhymes. The poem should end with the same first syllable, word or line with which it began.

Alouette: was created by Jan Turner, consists of two or more stanzas of 6 lines each, with the following set rules:

Meter: 5, 5, 7, 5, 5, 7
Rhyme Scheme: a, a, b, c, c,

Awdl Gywydd: The Awdl Gywydd is a Celtic (Welsh) poetry form that complicates the end rhyme scheme by interlacing an internal rhyme throughout the poem on the second and fourth lines of each stanza. The end rhyme scheme is as follows: a,b,c,b… d,e,f,e, etc.. however, the internal (cross-rhyme) can be placed in either the 3rd, 4th, or 5th, syllable position.

Brevette: created by Emily Romano consists of a subject (noun), verb, and object (noun), in this exact order. The verb should show an ongoing action. This is done by spacing out the letters in the verb. There are only three words in the poem, giving it the title Brevette.

Cinquain: A Cinquain is written using a pattern. This type of poem only has five lines. Each line follows a specific pattern.

Line 1: 2 syllables
Line 2: 4 syllables
Line 3: 6 syllables
Line 4: 8 syllables
Line 5: 2 syllables

Clarity Pyramid: The Clarity Pyramid is a poetry form designed and constructed by Jerry P. Quinn.A Clarity Pyramid is a poem consisting of two triplets and a single line (7 lines in all). Usually, this poem is center aligned when displayed.

The first triplet has 1, 2, and 3 syllables. The title of the poem is the one-syllable word of the first triplet, which is displayed in all capital letters. This line is followed by a two-syllable line, and then a three-syllable line, both of which clarify the definition of the poem, or are synonyms for the title.

The second triplet has 5, 6, and 7 syllables. Its design is based around a life event contained within the triplet that helps give a poetic view or outlook on the first line (title).

The last line is 8 syllables, and is in quotations as this line contains a quote that defines the first word (title).

Clerihew: A Clerihew is a comic verse consisting of two couplets and a specific rhyming scheme, aabb invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley (1875-1956) at the age of 16. The poem is about/deals with a person/character within the first rhyme. In most cases, the first line names a person, and the second line ends with something that rhymes with the name of the person.

Clogyrnach: is a sestet stanza with syllable counts of 8-8-5-5-3-3 and a rhyme scheme of aabbba

Converse: The Con-Verse, created by Connie Marcum Wong, consists of three or more 2-line rhyming stanzas (couplets). The meter of this form is in syllabic verse. (Syllabic verse only counts the number of syllables in a line.)

Rhyme scheme: aa,bb,cc,dd,ee
Meter: 7,7,8,8,9,9,10,10,11,11

This form consists of three or more couplets which ascend by one syllable up to and until you reach a syllabic count of eleven which would contain ten lines. This process may be repeated for a longer verse. If repeated, you must begin your first couplet with the syllabic count of seven again and continue from there.

Cyhydedd Hir (Welsh): is an octave stanza made up of two quatrains. The syllable count is 5-5-5-4-5-5-5-4 and the rhyming scheme is aaaBaaaB. If you do more than two quatrains the rhyming scheme would be as follows: aaaBaaaBcccDcccD. The five syllable lines all rhyme and the four syllable lines carry the rhyme from stanza to stanza.

Diamante: A Diamante is a seven-lined contrast poem set up in a diamond shape.

Line 1: Noun or subject
Line 2: Two Adjectives describing the first noun/subject
Line 3: Three -ing words describing the first noun/subject
Line 4: Four words: two about the first noun/subject, two about the antonym/synonym
Line 5: Three -ing words about the antonym/synonym
Line 6: Two adjectives describing the antonym/synonym
Line 7: Antonym/synonym for the subject

Dodoitsu: The Dodoitsu is a fixed folk song form of Japanese origin and is often about love or humor. It has 26 syllables made of of four lines of 7, 7, 7, 5 syllables respectively. It is unrhymed and non-metrical.

Double Tetractys: Double Tetractys: Two tetractys verses, one inverted, combined into one verse. In other words, it is a poem expressing a complete thought in ten lines with syllable counts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Englyn: 4 lines (10, 6, 6, 7). The 7th 8th or 9th syllable of first line introduces the rhyme and this is repeated on the last syllable of the other 3 lines

Englyn Cyrch: is a Welsh bardic form. It is a quatrain stanza with seven syllables in each line. Lines 1, 2, and 4 have the same end rhyme. Line 3 cross-rhymes into one of the central syllables of line 4.

Epitaph: An epitaph is a brief poem (sometimes humorous) inscribed on a tombstone. It can praise a deceased person and usually has rhyming lines

Epulaeryu: The Epulaeryu poem is all about delicious food. It consists of seven lines with thirty-three (33) syllables. The form is 7/5/7/5/5/3/1. Each line has one thought which is about the main course. Therefore, this poetic form, the Epulaeryu, which has corresponding lines built around the main course and ending with an exclamation point, concludes with the ending line expressing the writer’s excitement and feelings about the poem. The poem may be rhymed or unrhymed. The Epulaeryu poem was developed by Joseph Spence, Sr.

Essence: The Essence, created by Emily Romano is a short, structured form of two-lines, six syllables each with an end rhyme and internal rhyme.

Etheree: Consists of 10 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables. Etheree can also be reversed and written 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Get creative and write an Etheree with more than one verse, but follow suit with an inverted syllable count.

Fib: was created by Greg Pincus. The poem uses a mathematical formula. The syllable count is 0-1-2-3-5-8 etc. Basically, the number of syllables in a line must equal the sum of the syllables in previous two lines. You can write 6 lines or more for this poetry form.

Free Verse: Free verse is a form that does not obey the metrical rules of versification. The free often refers to the freedom from fixed patterns of meter and rhyme. Often writers will employ poetic devices such as assonance, alliteration, imagery, caesura, etc.

Ghazal: A Ghazal is a poem that is made up like an odd numbered chain of couplets, where each couplet is an independent poem. It should be natural to put a comma at the end of the first line. The Ghazal has a refrain of one to three words that repeat, and an inline rhyme that precedes the refrain. Lines 1 and 2, then every second line, has this refrain and inline rhyme, and the last couplet should refer to the authors pen-name… The rhyming scheme is AA bA cA dA eA etc.

Gwawdodyn: has a syllable count of 9-9-10-9. Lines 1-2-4 end rhyme. Line 3 may rhyme internally or a syllable before the end of the line may rhyme into the 4th line.

Haiku: An unrhymed Japanese poem recording the essence of a moment. Nature is combined with human nature. It usually consists of three lines of 5/7/5 equaling a total of 17 syllables.

Huitain: Huitain: [wee‐ten], a French stanza form consisting of eight lines ~ single verse ~ eight lines ~ eight syllables ~ rhyme scheme: a b a b b c b c

Interlocking Rubaiyat: is a quatrain stanza rhyming aaba. it is a form of chain verse that picks up the 3rd line of the preceding stanza as the main rhyme of the stanza and so on. Rhyming: aaba bbcb ccdc, etc.

Joseph’s Star: is a poetry form created by Christina R Jussaume on 08/06/07 in memory of her Dad. This poem has no rhyme, and is written according to syllable counts. Syllables are 1-3-5-7-7-5-3, and 1. The poem may be written on any subject, be center aligned, has no stanza limit, and should have complete statements in each line.

Katauta: The Katauta is an unrhymed japanese form consisting of 17 or 19 syllables. The poem is a three-lined poem the following syllable counts: 5/7/5 or 5/7/7.

Lanturne: The Lanturne is a five-line verse shaped like a Japanese lantern with a syllabic pattern of one, two, three, four, one.

Limerick: Limericks consist of five anapaestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another. Lines 3 & 4 have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other. Limericks are often bawdy and humorous.

Loop Poetry: Loop Poetry is a poetry form created by Hellon. There are no restrictions on the number of stanzas nor on the syllable count for each line. In each stanza, the last word of the first line becomes the first word of line two, last word of line 2 becomes the first word of line 3, last word of line 3 becomes the first word of line 4. This is followed for each stanza. The rhyme scheme is abcb.

Variations:
1. Stanzas, writers choice on the number, no rhyming, the last word, first word scheme is maintained.
2. One long stanza, no limit on number of lines, no rhyming scheme, the last word, first word scheme is maintained.
3. Couplets mixed with 4 line stanzas, the last word, first word scheme is maintained in the stanzas. It can also be used in the couplets. Rhyme scheme is ab, cc, defg, hh, ii, jklm, nn, oo.

Monorhyme:A Monorhyme is a poem in which all the lines have the same end rhyme.

Monostich: Monostich is a poem consisting of only one line.

Monotetra: The monotetra is a new poetic form developed by Michael Walker. Each stanza contains four lines in monorhyme. Each line is in tetrameter (four metrical feet) for a total of eight syllables. What makes the monotetra so powerful as a poetic form, is that the last line contains two metrical feet, repeated. It can have as few as one or two stanzas, or as many as desired.

Stanza Structure:
Line 1: 8 syllables; A1
Line 2: 8 syllables; A2
Line 3: 8 syllables; A3
Line 4: 4 syllables, repeated; A4, A4

Naani: Naani is a poem that consists of 4 lines with the total lines consisting of 20 – 25 syllables. The poem is not bound to a particular subject.

Nonet: A nonet has nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, the second line eight syllables, the third line seven syllables, etc… until line nine finishes with one syllable. It can be on any subject and rhyming is optional.

Numeric Poem: Is based on any two numbers. For example 6 and 4, the first stanza would be a sestet with four syllables per line. The second stanza would be a quatrain with six syllables per line.

Octain Refrain: The Octain, full name Octain Refrain, is a form of poetry developed by English poet Luke Prater in December 2010.

It comprises eight lines as two tercets and a couplet, either as octosyllables (counting eight syllables per line), or as iambic tetrameter, whichever is preferable. Trochaic tetrameter also acceptable. The latter yields a more propulsive rhythm, as opposed to iambs, which lilt.

As the name suggests, the first line is a refrain, repeated as the last (some variation of refrain acceptable). Rhyme-scheme as follows –

Alternative layout/stanza-structure:

Refrain lines out on their own, with the middle six as two tercets –

A
b-b-a
c-a-b
A

Oddquain: Oddquain is a short, usually unrhymed poem consisting of seventeen syllables distributed 1, 3, 5, 7, 1 in five lines, developed by Glenda L. Hand.

Paiku: Consists of three lines of 3/1/4.

Pantoum: The pantoum consists of a series of quatrains rhyming ABAB in which the second and fourth lines of a quatrain recur as the first and third lines in the succeeding quatrain; each quatrain introduces a new second rhyme as BCBC, CDCD. The first line of the series recurs as the last line of the closing quatrain, and third line of the poem recurs as the second line of the closing quatrain, rhyming ZAZA. Continue with as many stanzas as you wish, but the ending stanza then repeats the second and fourth lines of the previous stanza (as its first and third lines), and also repeats the third line of the first stanza, as its second line, and the first line of the first stanza as its fourth. So the first line of the poem is also the last.

Pleiades: This titled form was invented in 1999 by Craig Tigerman, Sol Magazine’s Lead Editor. Only one word is allowed in the title followed by a single seven-line stanza. The first word in each line begins with the same letter as the title. Hortensia Anderson, a popular haiku and tanka poet, added her own requirement of restricting the line length to six syllables.

Quintet: is any poem or stanza of five lines. There are a variety of different types of different quintets that each have a different rhyming scheme. The English Quintet rhymes ababb. The Envelope Quintet rhymes abcba or abbba

Quinzaine: A quinzaine is an unrhymed verse of fifteen syllables. These syllables are distributed among three lines so that there are seven syllables in the first line, five in the second line and three in the third line (7/5/3). The first line makes a statement. The next two lines ask a question relating to that statement.

Rhupunt (Welsh): is a poem of three, four, or five lines, with each line having four syllables. Each stanza can be written on the page in a single line of verse. The last section carries the rhyme from stanza to stanza. Rhyming scheme: aaaB cccB dddB and so forth

Rictameter: A Rictameter is a nine-line poem. Each line has a specific number of syllables. The first line has two syllables. The next line has four. The next line has six. The next line has eight. The next line has ten. And then it works its way down again (8,6,4,2). The last line is the same as the first line.

Rondeau: A Rondeau is a French form, 15 lines long, consisting of three stanzas: a quintet, a quatrain, and a sestet with a rhyme scheme as follows: aabba aabR aabbaR. Lines 9 and 15 are short – a refrain (R) consisting of a phrase taken from line one. The other lines are longer.

Rondelet: Is a French form consisting of a single septet with two rhymes and one refrain: AbAabbA. The capital letters are the refrains, or repeats. The refrain is written in tetra-syllabic or dimeter and the other lines are twice as long – octasyllabic or tetrameter.

Rubliw: A form developed from the Cinquain by Richard Wilbur. It is usually a message to someone, or group, or indeed mankind. It is normally iambic with the following syllable count: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2. The rhyming scheme is monorhyme.

An interesting fact: The name for the poetry form is actually the creator’s last name (Wilbur) spelled backwards.

Sedoka: The Sedoka is an unrhymed poem made up of two three-line katauta (A katauta is an unrhymed three-line poem with the following syllable counts: 5/7/7.) with syllable counts: 5/7/7, 5/7/7. A Sedoka, pair of katauta as a single poem, may address the same subject from differing perspectives.

Senryu: Senryu (also called human haiku) is an unrhymed Japanese verse consisting of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables (5, 7, 5) or 17 syllables in all. Senryu is usually written in the present tense and only references to some aspect of human nature or emotions. They possess no references to the natural world and thus stand out from nature/seasonal haiku.

Shadorma: Shadorma is a Spanish 6-line syllabic poem of 3/5/3/3/7/5 syllable lines respectively. Simple as that.

Shape Poetry: Shape is one of the main things that separate prose and poetry. Poetry can take on many formats, but one of the most inventive forms is for the poem to take on the shape of its subject. Therefore, if the subject of your poem were of a flower, then the poem would be shaped like a flower.

Symbi: Is a poetry form where a poem is written within a poem in which there is a symbiotic relationship…hence the name Symbi. It is a six line (sestet) with syllable counts of 5/5/7/5/5/7. There is a haiku, senryu, or katauta written in the 1st line, 3rd line, and 5 line. (It can be written in italics to draw the readers eye) The rhyming scheme is aabccb

Tanaga: is a Filipino poetic form. It consists of four lines with seven syllables each; the rhyme scheme is AABB. (If you choose to use one of the rhyming schemes listed below please let me know which one you have chosen when you submit your poem.) Traditionally, Tanagas don’t have titles and they are composed in the Tagalog language. These days, Tanagas are appearing more frequently in English, they are picking up titles and varying their rhyme forms (for example, AABB, ABAB, ABBA, AAAB, BAAA, ABCD, and so on). Morals, ethics, and proverbs may or may not be present.

Tanka: A Tanka unrhymed Japanese poem consisting of five lines of 5/7/5/7/7 (5 kana in the first line, 7 kana in the second line, 5 kana in the third line, 7 kana in the fourth line, and 7 kana in the fifth line) totaling 31 kana. It is very similar to haiku but Tanka poems have more syllables and it uses simile, metaphor and personification. They can be written about nature, seasons, love, sadness and other strong emotions.

Tetractys: A poetic form invented by Ray Stebbing, consists of at least 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (total of 20). Tetractys can be written with more than one verse, but must follow suit with an inverted syllable count. Tetractys can also bereversed and written 10, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Double Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1

Triple Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 10

and so on.

Triolet: A Triolet is a poetic form consisting of only 8 lines. Within a Triolet, the 1st, 4th, and 7th lines repeat, and the 2nd and 8th lines do as well. The rhyme scheme is simple: ABaAabAB, capital letters representing the repeated lines.

Triquain: The Triquain, created by Shelley A. Cephas, is a poem with several creative variances and can be a rhyming or non-rhyming verse. The simpliest form is a poem made up of 7 lines with 3, 6, 9, 12, 9, 6, and 3 syllables in this order.

7/5 Trochee: The 7/5 Trochee, created by Andrea Dietrich, of 2 or more quatrain stanzas with the following set rules: Meter: 7/5/7/5 Rhyme Scheme: a/b/c/b or a/b/a/b. The meter is trochee, which means alternating stressed and unstressed beats in each line, with each line beginning and ending in a stressed syllable. This is a simple lyrical type little poem, so rhymes will be basic, nothing fancy. The poem itself should give a description of something of interest to the poet. The second stanza ties up the idea presented in the first stanza

Twiplet (A Twitter triplet): 140 words or less (including spaces and punctuation). It is 3 lines with any or no meter. All three lines have the same end rhyme. There is also in the 3rd line a rhyming word in the beginning from line one and a rhyming word in the middle from line 2.

Tyburn: A six line poem consisting of 2, 2, 2, 2, 9, 9 syllables. The first four lines rhyme and are all descriptive words. The last two lines rhyme and incorporate the first, second, third, and fourth lines as the 5th through 8th syllables

Wrapped Refrain: The Wrapped Refrain, created by Jan Turner, consists of 2 or more stanzas of 6 lines each; Meter: 8,8,8,8,12,12 and Rhyme Scheme: a,a,b,b,c,c.

Refrain rule: In each stanza the first 4 syllables (or 4 single-syllable words) in the first line must be the last 4 syllables (or 4 single-syllable words) at the end of the last line. This is what wraps each stanza with a repeated refrain …thus, the Wrapped Refrain.

Optional: The first stanza refrain and last stanza refrain can be joined (or loosely joined) together for the title of the poem.

ZaniLa Rhyme: The ZaniLa Rhyme, a form created by Laura Lamarca, consists 4 lines per stanza. The rhyme scheme for this form is abcb and a syllable count of 9/7/9/9 per stanza. Line 3 contains internal rhyme and is repeated in each odd numbered stanza. Even stanzas contain the same line but swapped. The ZaniLa Rhyme has a minimum of 3 stanzas and no maximum poem length.

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