Poetic Forms

Below are forms that have been used in this blog:


Poetry that aims to use its sounds, textures, rhythms, and rhymes to convey an emotion, instead of relying on the meanings of words.


The traditional cinquain is based on a syllable count, twenty-two syllables in the following pattern (2-4-6-8-2). It has five lines, and often, one word in the first line, two words in the second line etc. There are more variations of the cinquain form.


Rhyming stanzas made up of two lines. A pair of lines of a verse that form a unit. Some couplets rhyme aa, but this is not a requirement.

Erasure Poetry

Erasure poetry is a form of found poetry created by erasing words from an existing text in prose or verse and framing the result on the page as a poem. The results can be allowed to stand in situ or they can be arranged into lines and/or stanzas.

Found Poetry

Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning. The resulting poem can be defined as either treated: changed in a profound and systematic manner; or untreated: virtually unchanged from the order, syntax and meaning of the original. The concept of found poetry is closely connected to the revision of the concept of authorship in XX century: as John Hollander put it, ‘anyone may “find” a text; the poet is he who names it, “Text”‘

Free Verse

A term describing various styles of poetry that are not written using strict meter or rhyme, but that still are recognizable as ‘poetry’ by virtue of complex patterns of one sort or another that readers can perceive to be part of a coherent whole.


A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five moras (a unit of sound that determines syllable weight in some languages) respectively, usually about some form of nature. Although haiku are often stated to have 17 syllables, this is inaccurate as syllables and moras are not the same. Haiku typically contain a kigo (seasonal reference), and a kireji (cutting word). In Japanese, haiku are traditionally printed in a single vertical line and tend to take aspects of the natural world as their subject matter, while haiku in English often appear in three lines to parallel the three phrases of Japanese haiku and may deal with any subject matter.


Naani is one of India’s’ most popular Telugu poems. Naani means an expression of one and all. It consists of 4 lines, the total lines consists of 20 to 25 syllables. The poem is not bounded to a particular subject. Generally it depends upon human relations and current statements.


Narrative poetry is poetry that tells a story. In its broadest sense, it includes epic poetry; some would reserve the name narrative poetry for works on a smaller scale and generally with more direct appeal to human interest than the epic.


A nonet has nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, the second line eight syllables, the third line seven syllables, etc… until line nine that finishes with one syllable. It can be on any subject and rhyming is optional. line 1 – 9 syllables line 2 – 8 syllables line 3 – 7 syllables line 4 – 6 syllables line 5 – 5 syllables line 6 – 4 syllables line 7 – 3 syllables line 8 – 2 syllables line 9 – 1 syllabl.


A stanza or poem consisting of four lines. In the basic form, Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables.


A rhyming poem has the repetition of the same or similar sounds of two or more words, often at the end of the line.


The rispetto is a classic Italian form composed of only eight lines in two quatrains. All lines are written in iambic tetrameter, with a rhyme scheme of abab ccdd. The distinguishing characteristic of this form is the change in rhyme scheme from alternate line rhyming in stanza one to rhyming couplets in stanza two.


The Rondelet (or roundelay) is a brief French form of poetry. It consists of one stanza, made up of seven lines. It contains a refrain, a strict rhyme scheme and a distinct meter pattern.

The word is the diminutive of rondel, a similar, longer verse form. This is the basic structure:

Line 1 :: A—four syllables
Line 2 :: b—eight syllables
Line 3 :: A—repeat of line one
Line 4 :: a—eight syllables
Line 5 :: b—eight syllables
Line 6 :: b—eight syllables
Line 7 :: A—repeat of line one

The refrained lines should contain the same words, however substitution or different use of punctuation on the lines has been common.


A short Japanese style poem, similar to haiku in structure, however, senryû tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryû are often cynical or darkly humorous and satiric while haiku are serious.


The triolet (triolay) is a classic repeating form that dates back to medieval French minstrels. There are eight lines, usually in iambic tetrameter daDUMdaDUMdaDUMdaDUM, with a rhyme scheme of ABaAabAB. The upper case letters designate repeating lines, so that lines 1, 4 and 7 and lines 2 and 8 repeat.


Created by Betty Ann Whitney, this seven-line verse based on Japanese patterns contains 3, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, 7 syllables respectively.

Source: Poetry Soup and Wikipedia


6 thoughts on “Poetic Forms

  1. Like the accurate description of Haiku. It’s really not comparable for one to write a Haiku with 17 English syllables — probably 4-6-4 or even 3-5-3 would be more closely aligned with the Japanese Haiku.

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