National Poetry Month: Different types of poetry

By Marcia Lee
Serials Specialist

Interested in learning how to write a poem? Want to know how to construct meter and verse? The library has a plethora of materials ranging from theory of poetry to how to write a poem.

Also, did you know there are over 55 different types of poetry styles? Listed below are some of the more commonly known types:

  • ABC poems – A poem that has five lines that create a mood, picture, or feeling. Lines 1 through 4 are made up of words, phrases or clauses while the first word of each line is in alphabetical order. Line 5 is one sentence long and begins with any letter.
  • Acrostic – Poetry that certain letters, usually the first in each line form a word or message when read in a sequence.
  • Ballads– A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tail or legend which often has a repeated refrain.
  • Bio – A poem written about one self’s life, personality traits, and ambitions.
  • Blank verse – A poem written in unrhymed iambic pentameter and is often unobtrusive. The iambic pentameter form often resembles the rhythms of speech.
  • Burlesque – Poetry that treats a serious subject as humor.
  • Couplet – A couplet has rhyming stanzas made up of two lines.
  • Elegy – A sad and thoughtful poem about the death of an individual.
  • Free verse – Poetry written in either rhyme or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern.
  • Haiku – A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five morea, usually containing a season word.
  • Lay – A long narrative poem, they were often sung by medieval entertainers.
  • Limerick – A short sometimes vulgar, humorous poem consisting of five anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 have seven to ten syllables, rhyme and have the same verbal rhythm. The 3rd and 4th lines have five to seven syllables, rhyme and have the same rhythm.
  • Lyric – A poem that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet.
  • Narrative – A poem that tells a story.
  • Quatrain – A rhyming poem has the repetition of the same or similar sounds of two or more words, often at the end of the line.
  • Sonnet – A lyric poem that consists of 14 lines which usually have one or more conventional rhyme schemes.
  • Visual – The visual arrangement of text, images, and symbols to help convey the meaning of the work. Visual poetry is sometimes referred to as a type of concrete poetry.
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