24 Types and Forms of Poetry

types of poetry, forms of poetry, poetry types, top poetry styles, arthut

So many poets around the world are stuck with one type of poetry or they know the major ones which are either the free verse, haiku and/or the sonnet and do not realize that there are much more types of poetry styles they are yet to explore. In today’s article, we shall be delivering the different and unique types and forms of poems.

Rhymed Poetry

This form of poetry follows a certain rhyme although it may vary in schemes.

Blank/Free Verse

This is a poetry style with lines that do not rhyme. They do/may have rhythm but usually lack a regular rhyme.

A free-verse is also known as ‘vers libre’

Sonnet

Sonnets are one-stanzaic fourteen-line poems

Though this style of was invented in the 13th/14th century by Dante and Francisco Petrarch, an Italian Philosopher with a different rhyming scheme, the poetry form was fairly unpopular till the development and influence of the poetry style by Shakespeare and other largely known poets in the 16th/17th century that it became a well-known style of poetry.


The rhyming scheme of the original inventors of the sonnet was ABABCDCDEFEFGHG but this was influenced by Shakespeare into ABABCDCDEFEFGGG and this has remained the most popular form of writing sonnets even till modern times.

Examples of sonnets are ‘What Shall I Compare to Thee’ by William Shakespeare

Haiku

An haiku is short Japanese verse form of three short lines with the syllabic format of 7 – 5 – 7.

Haiku writing is an ancient form of poetry with roots in the Asian continent and is renowned for its small size, precise punctuations and syllables needed on all three lines.

Haikus are meant to be a composition of 3 lines which are all phrases. The first line of haikus have 5 syllables, second line with 7 syllables and the 3rd line with another 5 syllables.

Kelogb

This poetry style is relatively new. It is a style that uses words to pass an apt message within three short lines. It’s a tercet that follows the syllabic rule of 6 – 7 – 6 syllables as a poem.

With roots in Yoruba Language of Nigeria, a kelogb dervies its meaning from Kele-Ogban., a Yoruba phrase for ‘little wisdom.’

An example of a kelogb is Cries by Emmanuel Ojelade

Don’t cry to my body – 6 syllables

it’s done enough, let go now! – 7 syllables

My spirit calls for home. – 6 syllables

Ode

This is a poetry type that tells the good attributes of a someone or something. It is seen as a praise poem in that odes usually speak of the great (can be controversial too) doings of the subject of the poems.

A good example of classical odes are Ode to Duty by John Keats

Pastoral Poetry

A pastoral poem is one which describes the simplicity and beauty of rural life. Many times it is a short poem descriptive of rural or pastoral living while others, it is a musical composition that evokes the scenery of rural life. It is also known as an eclogue, bucolic or an idyll.

It usually paints an image of the beauty, peace, aesthetics around rural life as opposed to the noisiness of urbanity and is usually read to urban audiences,

Examples of pastoral poems includes Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

Lyric

It is a composition of words that expresses intense/personal feelings and emotions of the writer.

Lyrics are usually short, musical or rhythmic but hold a lot of weight in their meaning because they carry the soul, thoughts and emotions of the poet.

Examples of lyrical poems include Songs of Sorrow by Kofi Awoonor

Lullaby

Lullabies are poems composed as soothing music usually sung to young children before they go to sleep with the aim of catalyzing the process.

This art of poetry really is popular in many nations of the world especially on the lips of mothers.

Lullabies also known as a berceuses or cradlesong because it’s usually sung to children.

Limerick

A limerick is a short and witty poetry form which prides itself with its unique rhythm and styles.

The rhymes scheme of a limerick is usually A A B B A

Narrative Poem

Just as the name implies, a narrative poem tells a tale in a concise manner.

Examples of narrative poems are The Rime of Ancient Mariner by S.T Colerigde.

It can sometimes be long (just as in the case of The Proud King by William Morris) or short the story it related to the audience may range from being simple to being complex.

Another example of a Narrative poetry is The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Couplet

Probably derived from the term, ‘Couples’, a couplet it a two-lined verse which rhymes but can also form a poem alone.

Epic

An epic is a lengthy narrative poem which is usually concerning serious deeds, which discusses heroic deeds, events, achievements and such subjects.
A type of epic is the epyllion which is a shorter epic i.e. a brief narrative poem.

Ballad

A ballad represents a melodious form of storytelling.

It is usually a narrative passed from generations to generations through word of mouth and are meant to be sung or danced to before a crowd. The subjects of ballads are

Ballads can be either poetic or musical.

Examples of ballads are

Dirge

This type of poetry is used to express grief and is usually read for somber events such as funeral.

Elegy

Almost similar to dirge, an elegy is an extension of a dirge as it doesn’t only mourn loss or expresses grief but also proceeds to console the bereaved. It too is usually sung at funerals.

Lament

This is similar to dirge and elege, it is a mornful poem; usually for the dead.

Villanelle

This type of poetry is a nineteen-line poem consisting of five tercets and a quatrain, with a highly specified internal rhyme scheme.

Viallanell usually is used describe and express intense subject matters personal to the authors.

An example of a Vilanelle is Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas.

Nonsense

A nonsense poem is a type of poetry that really lacks any coherent meaning.

Palindrome (or Mirror Poetry)

Reflective poetic form.
A palindrome is a type of poetry that reads the same forward or backward.

Tanka

This is a form of Japanese poetry with 5 lines which also follows syllables of the 1st and 3rd lines having five syllables and the 2nd, 4th, and 5th have seven syllables. Illustration;

line 1 – 5 syllables

line 2 – 7 syllables

line 3 – 5 syllables

line 4 – 7 syllables

line 5 – 7 syllables

Abecedarius

This is a poem having lines beginning with letters of the alphabet in a regular order

Terza Rima

This is a verse-form type of poetry with a regular tercet rhyme scheme such as aba bcb cdc efe ghg etc.

Soliloquy/Monologue

This is not a type of poetry by definitions, but they can be regarded as a form of poetry.

A (usually long) dramatic speech intended to give the illusion of unspoken reflections.

Example of a soliloquy is the opening scene in MacBeth in William Shakespeare’s play.


We tried to cover the major and minor types of poems there are with this resource but if there are other types of poems not mentioned in this post, kindly leave us a comment on it.

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