Poetry Challenge: First 3 of 20

After writing about different types of poems in my last post, I decided to challenge myself and write a new poem for each of the twenty types. Well, with the exception of an epic. I do not have the patience or desire to write a poem as long as a novel. 😄 I’ll leave that up to Homer and John Milton. For my twentieth poem, I’ll find another type that wasn’t included in my list. Most of my poems will have titles, but not all.

Three poems for today!


Y oga classes
O utrageous sports bloopers
U seful how-to videos
T op ten country music playlists
U ltimate funny cats compilations
B uilding survival shelters
E asy hairstyles

Yarn over, pull through
Single, double, count stitches
Turn work and repeat.

Ode to Hot Cocoa

As water warms then boils
A mug is placed in anticipation.

Sugar, cocoa, nutmeg, and ginger
Are gathered in preparation.

Morning ritual or evening indulgence
this satisfying beverage soothes the mind,
makes cold hands happy and tastes delightful.

Circles swirl as I stir the decadent substance.
Sipping slowly, time and worries are redefined.
Savor, savor every wondrous mouthful.

(acrostic, haiku, ode)

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


Wednesday’s Wafers XII

Wednesday’s Wafers: series in which I share some of my own writing.


Gift of Wonders

To Jordan from Mama (Karolyn H)
Written 9/8/1993

How I have been blessed with this gift in a child.

Having discovered the greatest love

I feel so proud and grateful each time I watch him sleep.

So beautiful,

lying in peaceful slumber.

The moment he arrived, I was elated,

yet apprehensive.

But look at him now!

So affectionate, endearing, and playful.

How he loves to learn!

I want to teach him all there is to know.

Whenever he mimics my words or actions,

I feel so special and privileged.

He deserves to be free to explore the world,

and experience the good.

But to see him cry, or feel hurt

tears me apart.

I want to shield him from pain and disappointment.

There he goes – run, run, dance, dance some more!

Feel all the joy I see in your eyes.

Precious baby—yet baby no more.

This perfect little person that has taught me so much

can only be repaid with comfort and security

and a mother’s love.

If it were possible,

I would tell him every moment how much he means to me.

All I can hope is that he knows

and that his sweet smile will never leave my life…empty.


While sorting and packing, I recently discovered a long letter that I’d written to my son when he was only two years old, along with this poem that I’d written around the same time. I gave him the letter yesterday and am publishing the poem here. Now in his late twenties, Jordan has more than met my expectations and is a constant joy.


Pretty in Print


After publishing our poetry book as an eBook, I decided to add content and completely redesign and prettify it for paperback publication. I went a bit crazy with the formatting for the poems, so it took forever. But I love how it turned out! Here’s the new description along with the Amazon link:

[Mirrors: Poetry Anthology (2nd edition)] [karolynherrera.com]

Two teenage cousins loved to write poetry in the 1980s before the internet was a thing. Thirty years later, after marriages, divorces and children, Kari and Terrie’s shared dream of publishing a book is finally realized.

Topics near and dear to their hearts–crushes, breakups, friendship, pets, books and nature–are the focus of poems in this nostalgic collection.

Beautiful, full-color illustrations and personal photos bring their words to life, preserving a little piece of history. This print edition has been reorganized and redesigned and includes additional photos and commentary.


Little Piece

mirrors cover fb


As a book editor, it is very rewarding to finally be able to say I’ve edited AND published an eBook co-written by me and my cousin. This book represents a little piece of our history.  I’ll include my eBook description and link below.

Two teenage cousins loved to write poetry in the 1980s before the internet was a thing. Topics near and dear to their hearts – crushes, breakups, friendship, pets, books and nature – are the focus of poems in this collection. Thirty years later, after marriages, divorces and children, Kari and Terrie’s dream of publishing a book is finally realized.

[ Mirrors: Poetry Anthology ]
(available on Amazon)


Wednesday’s Wafers XI

Wednesday’s Wafers: weekly series where I share some of my own recent writing.


Glorious
by Karolyn H

glorious

As each day passes
and time rolls merrily along
I understand more and more
why the greatest fulfillment in life
comes not from having the best of everything
or enjoying support and praise from admirers
or even from unlimited knowledge and opportunities.

It comes from the struggle
against your own fears
against the negativity of the world
against the obstacles that you might not even understand
against your past and recent failures
against bad habits and safe choices.

Our human condition is often scary
and painful, and hopeless.
But it is also beautiful
and silly and joyful.

The struggle validates the victory.
Tenacious persistence conquers doubt.
Failures teach humility and patience.

Reaching the goal, finding the treasure, discovering love;
there is nothing that compares to the satisfaction of
knowing that you made the hard choices that led you to this moment.
Knowing that the difficult, or traumatic circumstances you endured
were gloriously worth it.

Designing your life and crafting your character —
what an ambitious endeavor!
Who do you want to be?
How do you want to be?
Who are YOU?

and when I say “you”,

I’m really asking myself…