Sunday, January 1, 2012

Types of poems

A BALLAD is a song, which tells a story.  The BALLAD STANZA is a quatrain in alternate four- and three-stress iambic lines; usually only the second and fourth lines rhyme.

An ELEGY is a poem that deals solemnly with death.

A HAIKU is a Japanese poem with a lyric form that represents the poet’s impression of a natural object or scene, viewed at a particular season or month, in exactly seventeen syllables, which has influenced many poets of other languages.  Haikus typically present an intense emotion or vivid image of nature, which, in the Japanese, are also designed to lead to a spiritual insight.

Under Cherry Trees - Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)

Under cherry trees
Soup, the salad, fish and all . . .
Seasoned with petals.

After Spring - Miura Chora (1729-1781)

After spring sunset
Mist rises from the river
Spreading like a flood

A LIMERICK is a form of light, whimsical, five-line verse, rhyming aabba.

An ODE is a long lyric poem that is serious in subject, elevated in style, and elaborate in its stanza structure. 

A PROSE POEM is a densely compact, pronouncedly rhythmic, and highly sonorous composition which is written as a continuous sequence of sentences without line breaks.

A SESTINA is a highly structured poem consisting of six six-line stanzas followed by a tercet (called its envoy or tornada), for a total of thirty-nine lines.  English sestinas are traditionally written in iambic pentameter.

An ITALIAN or PETRARCHAN SONNET is a poem of fourteen lines, rhyming abbaabba in its first eight lines, the octet (or octave), the sonnet concludes with a six-line sestet rhyming cdcdcd or cdecde.

A SHAKESPEAREAN or ENGLISH SONNET is composed of three quatrains rhyming abab, cdcd, efef, and a concluding couplet gg.

TERZA RIMA is composed of tercets which are interlinked, in that each is joined to the one following by a common rhyme: aba, bcb, cdc, and so on.

A VILLANELLE consists of five tercets and a quatrain, all on two rhymes.

A VISUAL or TYPOGRAPHICAL POEM is one in which the visual arrangement of text, images and symbols is important in conveying the intended effect of the work. It is sometimes referred to as concrete poetry, a term that predates visual poetry, and at one time was synonymous with it.

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