Different Poetry Formatts

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Different Poetry Formatts

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:06 pm

The acrostic uses the first letter of each line to spell out a word, name, or
phrase as you read down. Alternately, the last letters of each line may also
spell out a message. Acrostics may be either rhyming or unrhymed, use meter or
be free form. When written as an HTML file, the letters forming the message are
highlighted in some fashion, either made bold, italicized, or changed in color.

A narrative poem usually depicting folk-lore, myth, or legend. Each stanza is
either 2 or 4 lines and written in ballad meter, i.e., alternating lines of
iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter. This makes the syllable count 8-6-8-6
for each quatrain. Please note however that only the second and fourth lines
rhyme, giving a rhyme scheme of a-b-c-b. Although they contain little detail,
ballads use simplicity and force. They are often sung and written for that


A French format with 3 seven or eight-line stanzas and an four line envoi that
repeats the last four rhymes of the previous stanza. It uses no more than three
rhymes with an identical refrain after each. The rhyme scheme is
a-b-a-b-b-c-b-cR a-b-a-b-b-c-b-cR a-b-a-b-b-c-b-cR b-c-b-cR. There is a
variation with six stanzas which is called a double ballade.

Simply put, blank verse is meter without rhyme. It is usually written in iambic
pentameter (pentameter refers to 5 "feet."). Some believe it to be
the pinnacle of poetry as the format must stand alone without rhyme as a
reinforcement. Any poetry format may be written as Blank verse.

A humorous format contained in a single quatrain and composed of two rhyming
couplets. The rhyme scheme is a-b-a-b with lines of uneven length. Clerihews
are usually written as pseudo-biographical pieces about a famous personage. The
name of the subject ends the first, or occasionally the second line and the
humor is light and whimsical instead of satirical. Edmund Clerihew Bentley
(1875-1956) created the format to avoid boredom in school. Below are two
examples of his original clerihews.
Sir Humphrey Davy The meaning of the poet Gay
Abominated gravy. Was always as clear as day,
He lived in the odium While that of the poet Blake
Of having discovered sodium. Was often practically opaque.

Rhyming poetry without a set meter. Rhythm and word-flow decide where to place
the rhymes, although they always end the lines. Technically it could be
considered free verse. Free form often makes use of feminine rhymes. Often
feminine rhymes are added as an extra syllable to pieces written in iambic pentameter.

Free verse is cause for some controversy amongst poets and poetry enthusiasts.
Poetry makes use of line breaks to accent and break up the words while prose
uses punctuation and paragraphing. An easy definition of free verse would be
prose written rich in imagery and broken up with line breaks instead of
punctuation and paragraphing.

An Iranian format rarely more than a dozen couplets of the same meter. The
rhyme scheme is a-a b-a c-a and so on. Ghazal also follows the radif tradition.
The last couplet of the ghazal called makta often includes the pen-name of the
poet, and is more personal than general in its tone and intent. Each couplet is
to be a complete thought. Some ghazal are written with a theme throughout all
the couplets, but that is a fringe trend. Ghazal is arabic for "talking to

A short, intense Japanese format, nature oriented, and with three lines with a
syllable count of 5-7-5. They are usually untitled as good haiku stand alone.
Haiku tend to be minimalistic and utilize immediacy. Immediacy refers to the
sense of a scene being directly presented to your senses. Haiku tries to
capture a specific moment or image in place and time. A season word is usually
required in the traditional form to place a poem in a specific season. Several
Japanese formats use the 5-7-5 syllable count.

A light or humorous verse form of five chiefly anapestic (a metrical
"foot" with two unaccented syllables followed by a long or accented
syllable) verses of which lines one, two and five are of three feet and lines
three and four are of two feet, The rhyme scheme is a-a-b-b-a.

This delightful format originated in the Far East.
There are no less than 6 quatrains, though you may have more. The twist to it
is this; the second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third
lines in the following stanza, respectively. A vital component is using the
first and third lines of the first quatrain/stanza as the fourth and second
lines of the last stanza. This brings the poem full circle. The rhyme scheme is
this, a1-b1-a2-b2 b1-c1-b2-c2 c1-d1-c2-d2 d1-e1-d2-e2 e1-f1-e2-f2 f1-a2-f2-a1.


More of a word puzzle, the paradelle is a very difficult format to master. A
paradelle is a repetition of lines, with each stanza ending in two lines which
use all of the words in the previous lines. Also, the last stanza uses all of
the words from all previous stanzas.

A renga is a series of linked poems of alternating 5-7-5 and 7-7 syllable
stanzas. Traditionally there is no theme as each stanza must relate to the
previous stanza and the one below it, yet no three consecutive stanzas are to
make sense. The relationship between each stanza and those before and after it
is often obscure but is never readily apparent. Renga are written
collaboratively with at least two poets who take turns writing each succesive
stanza. It is worth noting that most oriental languages are unaccented
languages so meter is not used.

Similar to renga, this six stanza format has a theme or common topic. The
syllable count is as follows; 3-line stanzas are typically short-long-short
(e.g. 5-7-5) and the 2-line stanzas are typically long-long (e.g. 7-7).

Usually reserved for light and witty verse, this fixed form utilizes three
stanzas of either 8 or 10 syllables with only two rhymes used. A word or words
from the first part of the first line are used as a (usually unrhymed) refrain
ending the second and third stanzas. The rhyme scheme is a-a-b-b-a a-a-b-R

This arabic format has a quatrain wherein the first, second, and fourth lines
rhyme. The rhyme scheme is thus; a-a-b-a. A single stanza can be a poem in
itself or multiple stanzas may be joined to create a larger piece.

Like haiku, this format uses the 5-7-5 syllable count. Unlike haiku subject
matter is human emotions and relationships rather than nature.
The sestina is the most convoluted format imaginable. Technically it is free
verse as it uses no rhyme and is usually (not always) without meter. First off,
six words are chosen for the sestina as end words. The end words rotate their
position with each new stanza. As there are six words, there are six stanzas
plus a three line end tag. There is a variation using twelve words and is
called a double-sestina. Here then is the word scheme (note that the order of
the end words will be written across rather then vertically); ABCDEF, FAEBDC,
CFDABE, ECBFAD, DEACFB, BDFECA. Following that is a three line end tag or envoi
that may be used in two distinct forms, either ECA or ACE, with B, D, and F
included within the lines of the envoi respectively.

Like haiku the sijo is nature oriented. There are three lines, each averaging
14-16 syllables with a total of 44-46 syllables. Each line has a specific
focus; the first line introduces a situation or problem, the second line
includes a development, the third line resolves tensions created in the first
line or resolves the problem in the first line. Again we must note that
Oriental languages tend to be unstressed. Each piece must be self-explanatory,
requiring no title.

This is probably the most well known and recognized format in the present day.
Though made famous by Shakespeare, the format is much older and there are
actually three different sonnet formats; Shakespearean, Petrarchan (Italian),
and Spenserian. Each has a unique rhyme scheme but all have fourteen lines. The
sonnet may be broken into three quatrains with alternating rhyme and a heroic
couplet ending it. Note that when written there are no spaces between stanzas.
The petrarchan format has several different possible endings known as tercets
(three line stanza). Here then is the rhyme scheme for the three styles.

Petrarchan Spensarian
a-b-a-b c-d-c-d e-f-e-f g-g a-b-b-a a-b-b-a c-d-c c-d-e a-b-a-b b-c-b-c c-d-c-d
or d-c-d
or d-d-c
or e-d-c

Simple and straightforward, it is a stanza of nine lines, all iambic except the
last which is an alexandrine. The alexandrine is a line with twelve syllables
and written in reverse iambic, which is to say that it begins with an accented
syllable and ends with an unaccented syllable. The rhyme scheme for this stanza
is as follows; a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-c.

A five line Japanese format with lines of 5-7-5-7-7. Please note that often the
end tag of 7-7 is separated from the 5-7-5 part, although this may vary. They
are not restricted to nature or season as haiku are. Tanka refers to modern poems
in this form while Waka refers to pre-twentieth century poems in this style.

A modified villanelle that utilizes the terza rima stanza with it's
interlocking rhyme scheme, in format it adheres to the Villanelle however.

Either a poem or stanza of eight lines in which the first line is repeated as
the fourth and seventh
lines, and the second line as the eighth. The rhyme scheme is ABaAabAB. Note
that only two rhymes are used within this format.


This format has nineteen lines, 5 stanzas of three lines each and 1 stanza of
four lines. The rhyme scheme appears thus; a-b-a a-b-a a-b-a a-b-a a-b-a
a-b-a-a. There is one vital twist to the villanelle; the first, then third line
of the poem alternate as the last line of stanzas 2, 3, and 4, and then end
stanza 5, and the poem itself, as a couplet. The villanelle is usually written
in tetrameter (4 "feet") or pentameter.

This is an ancient French format having stanzas of varying length and number
with alternating long and short lines. The rhyme scheme is interlaced; a-b-a-b
b-c-b-c c-d-c-d d-e-d-e e-f-e-f

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