20 Types of Poetry

What makes a poem different from a story? A story is written in paragraphs, consisting of (mostly) full sentences and some dialogue. Poetry is written in a variety of styles.

Some styles use full sentences, but often poetry consists of sentence fragments and phrases that are grouped together in stanzas*. Poetry can be used to tell a story, or simply to describe a feeling. Sometimes poems are cryptic, requiring analyzation to determine their true meaning. Poetry can be humorous or intentionally somber. Rhyming patterns* vary and are not always consistent. Meter*, alliteration*, and repetition are frequently just as important as the rhyming pattern. Some poems are very short, only a few lines long. A few famous poems are long enough to fill a large, thick book. Occasionally, poets may play with formatting to display their work creatively on the page.

When I write poetry, I typically write free verse with occasional rhyming. A few of them are formatted on the page to match the theme of the poem just for fun. I love reading poems that tell a story in a unique way, as well as compelling free verse.

Can you match the twenty kinds of poetry listed below to their descriptions? I must admit that I was previously unfamiliar with a couple of them, such as the villanelle (…??). Click on the link at the end of the article to check your answers.

Do you know of any other type of poetry not mentioned here? Let me know in the comments and share which kind of poetry is your favorite to read and which is your favorite to write. Common poetry terms (noted with an *) are defined after the poem descriptions.

Types of poetry (in alphabetical order):

  • Acrostic
  • Ballad
  • Blackout poetry
  • Concrete poetry
  • Ekphrastic poetry
  • Elegy
  • Epic
  • Epigram
  • Epitaph
  • Free verse
  • Haiku
  • Limerick
  • List poetry
  • Lyric poetry
  • Narrative poetry
  • Ode
  • Palindrome* poetry
  • Pantoum
  • Sonnet
  • Villanelle

Descriptions (in random order):

  • Japanese poetry consisting of three lines; may or may not rhyme:
    • Line 1: five syllables
    • Line 2: seven syllables
    • Line 3: five syllables
  • Fourteen lines; typically about love; rhyme schemes*:
    • ABBA ABBA CDE CDE or
    • ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
  • Nineteen lines; ABA ABA ABA ABA ABA ABAA rhyme scheme; certain lines are repeated:
    • Line 1
    • Line 2
    • Line 3
    • Line 4
    • Line 5
    • Line 6 – repeat line 1
    • Line 7
    • Line 8
    • Line 9 – repeat line 3
    • Line 10
    • Line 11
    • Line 12 – repeat line 1
    • Line 13
    • Line 14
    • Line 15 – repeat line 3
    • Line 16
    • Line 17
    • Line 18 – repeat line 1
    • Line 19 – repeat line 3
  • First letter of each line vertically spells out a name, word, or phrase
  • Poem with no rules
  • Usually short; written to praise a person, thing, or event; often ten lines
  • Funny or shocking; AABBA rhyme scheme; lines 3 and 4 are shorter than the other lines; the last line is the punchline.
  • Written in mourning after a death; often consisting of several two-line stanzas
  • Tells a dramatic or emotional story; ABAB or ABCB rhyme scheme
  • Vividly describes a painting, statue, photograph, or story
  • Designed to take a particular shape or form on the page; spacing or layout is often manipulated to emphasize a theme or element in the text, or sometimes make the physical shape of the poem’s subject
  • Short, witty, and satirical
  • Short phrase written in memory of a person whose died, often inscribed on a tombstone or grave marker.
  • Shorter, expressive, songlike poem that is centered on emotions.
  • Large portions of an existing text are blacked out to reveal the remaining visible words that form the new poem
  • Very long poem which tells a story about a character’s adventures, accomplishments, and daring feats.
  • Shorter yet fully developed story that focuses more on plot instead of emotion or adventure, often with a specific rhyming scheme.
  • Poem that consists of four-line stanzas* that repeat in a pattern; no set length; changes in punctuation, verb tense, pronouns, word order, homonyms, and plurality are allowed when repeating lines.
    • Line 1
    • Line 2
    • Line 3
    • Line 4
    • Line 5 – repeat line 2
    • Line 6
    • Line 7 – repeat line 4
    • Line 8
    • Line 9 – repeat line 6
    • Line 10
    • Line 11 – repeat line 8
    • Line 12
    • Line 13 – repeat line 10
    • Line 14
    • Line 15 – repeat line 12
    • Line 16

      Final stanza continues same pattern but ends with a repeat of line 1 as the final line in the poem.
  • Poem that reads the same forward or backward with a word in the center as the reversal point
  • List of things; funny or moving last line

Visit https://karolyneditsbooks.com/poetry_types.html to check your answers.


Alliteration – Repetition of the same sound at the beginning of a series of words in succession

Meter – Pattern of stressed syllables (long-sounding) and unstressed syllables (short-sounding) in poetry

Palindrome – Word, phrase, verse, sentence, or poem that reads the same forward or backward

Rhyme scheme/pattern – Lines that end with rhyming words are identified by the same letter. Examples of rhyme schemes:

  • AA BB CC
    • three stanzas
    • last words of lines 1 and 2 rhyme
    • last words of lines 3 and 4 rhyme
    • last words of lines 5 and 6 rhyme
  • AABBA
    • in each stanza, last words of lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme
    • in each stanza, last words of lines 3 and 4 rhyme

Stanza – Set amount of lines grouped together in poetry by their length, meter, or rhyme scheme


Mentors wanted

How can I meet people who push or challenge me as a person? Sure, having friends and family that I can relate to, who share memories or who understand certain struggles and issues is comforting. But I feel like to continue growing my character, my values, I need to surround myself with those who will provide a different perspective. Not to change my values, but to strengthen them. Not to pander to, or–on the opposite spectrum–to berate, but to embolden, to confront, to collaborate. Of course, to attract these kinds of individuals, I would display qualities that they value or respect. I’m not really sure how to go about this in a calculated way, but I’ve set my mind to be open to and ready for opportunities.

I love the motto, “Be your own hero.” The first time I heard it was from the athlete, Jessie Graff. To me, this means to be the type of person you want to be, that you can respect, to set an example for others as well. But how do you know what that looks like? I think anyone who accomplishes this goal successfully, has undoubtedly emulated the behavior and qualities they admire in certain individuals close to them. My conclusion is that if my life is lacking people I look up to who strengthen my confidence and resolve, then I need to seek them out.

I can think of a handful of people I’ve known throughout life that have challenged me in this way, but we’re no longer in contact, due to changing circumstances or locations. It’s time to build a network, no matter how small it might be, of persistent, successful teammates.

 

Community

community

I’m rather a solitary, independent person, and not often lonely. My living situation puts me in close proximity with my son and his girlfriend by necessity. While I love being able to talk to him as much I do, I prefer my own space and am working to get back to that. Yet, I desire to belong to a community of people who have had similar experiences or who have the same problems to deal with.

Some of my favorite Youtubers include a lady who is a mom, blogger, and recovering addict who’s been clean for five years; a hilarious comedian with a stutter and a sweet dog; a fashionable and savvy blind girl; and several athletes who have worked really hard to get fit so they could compete in American Ninja Warrior competitions.

Years ago, I was in regular contact with a couple groups for ex-JWs, but I’ve moved beyond the need for that. I also led a crochet and knitting group for a couple years. I think some of them still meet up, but I don’t know where and I haven’t had much time for yarn work lately. I’m an editor and a writer and book lover so naturally, I’m in a couple writing groups on Facebook. While I was traveling with an ex-partner around the country, I felt some comradery with other trucker-wives. More recently, I’ve felt drawn to Christians who understand the Bible’s true message, and Jesus’s free gift of grace.

There are so many people I admire and others who just make me laugh. I can usually relate to some of their challenges or triumphs, but I don’t feel like I’m really a solid member of any particular group per se, or that anyone considers me one of their ‘people’. Why do I feel the desire to? That’s the hundred-bitcoin question.

I think I would like to identify and connect with a circle of friends occasionally, then retreat to solitude. Maybe a travel group, or community of small business owners.

Do any of you feel the same way? Why do you think people develop this need to belong?

I think some of the motivations are fairly clear: friendship, validation of certain ideas or beliefs, exchange of experiences and ideas.

Other less obvious motivations may include: boredom, loneliness, a need for direction, acceptance, reputation or status.

Comment below with your thoughts!