Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

:iconbeccalicious: More from Beccalicious

Featured in Collections

Journals of Magnificence by Memnalar

News Articles by LiliWrites

Faved Articles and Journals by jade-pandora

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
March 5, 2013
Submitted with Writer


10,923 (5 today)
121 (who?)

PE: Poetry Forms- An A-Z

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 12:23 AM

An A-Z of Poetry Forms!


To kick start this week at projecteducate, we're starting off with a slightly lighter-hearted article listing just some of the poetic forms that exist out there. Lets be honest, there are hundreds and we can't list every single one. This is just a slice of the forms out there and if you are wishing to expand your understanding of different forms, do some research and don't take this as gospel!

Each form has a direct link to a site that describes the form in more detail, usually with examples too. I have also included some good examples from dA when I have found them.

Yes some of these link to wikipedia!


ABC- A poem where each word, line or stanza starts with the next continuous letter of the alphabet. Also known as an "Abcedarian"

Acrostic- A poem where the first letter of every line spells a subject word the content refers to.

A L'Arora- 4 Stanzas of 8 lines with the scheme ABCDEFGF

Alliterisen- A 7 lined poem that relies on alteration and syllable count.

Alouette- A French based poem where each 6 line stanza follows a strict syllable and rhyme scheme. Often used in children's poems.


Ballad- A lyrical form with a narrative nature, often with a repeated refrain. Not to be confused with Ballade!
The Ballad of SerenityA nightingale in a birch nearby,
sang a song that made her cry.
"Another note and I shall die!"
Her threat was met with no reply.
And so she rested by the stream,
and heard the crickets softly dream.
She watched the cattails kiss the stars,
believing heaven not so far.
"And here is where I shall be free,"
whispered fair Serenity.
The orphaned child, the strange young girl
born into an ancient world.
No elegance or skill had she
but the ballad, of Serenity.
She was cursed with just one song:
a ballad haunting, soft and long.
The words were never hers to hear,
but danced always beyond her ear.
On harp, flute, lyre she wiled away,
the notes that only she could play.
Yet she grew tried of just one song
and ran away before too long,
into a wood with stream of gold
where rumored lived the bards of old.
She found the caves of deepest blue
and told them, "I have searched for you."
Serenity the bards admired.
They gave to her the sacred lyre,
which bound her soul between its strings,
to find th

Ballade- From the same family as the Rondeau and the Virelai, this French form consists of three 8 lined stanzas with the rhyme scheme: ababbcbC ababbcbC ababbcbC bcbC

Blank Verse- Of English origin, a poem that has identifiable meter, but no rhyme scheme. Commonly written in iambic pentameter.

Brevette- Brevity comes with its own form of poetry! This 3 line, 3 word poem consists of 2 nouns and a Verb.

Burlesque- A light-hearted form that takes a serious subject matter and parodies it with humorous tones.


Canzone- An Italian originated song based form it consists of 5 to 7 stanzas typically set to music, each stanza resounding the first in rhyme scheme and in number of lines (7 to 20 lines). The Canzone also inspired the sonnet. (Not to be confused with a very nice folded pizza, thats a Calzone!)

Chant Royal- An extended version of the Ballade, the Chant royal has a rhyme scheme of ababccddede followed by and envoy of ddede

Clerihew- A short biographical poem consisting of 4 lines, structured AABB. (added by ThornyEnglishRose)

Concrete- A typographical arrangement of text conveying the meaning of the poem through its shape. Not to be confused with Visual Poetry (which isn't necessarily typographical) or writing on the road.
Blanched by SaViNgGrAcEs

Contrerimethe "contrerime" is a quatrain with embraced rhymes (ABBA) and a cross-metric structure (usually 8-6-8-6), which gives the poem a sense of systematic imbalance. It was formalized and named by John Paul Toulet, who used in a number of poems, including his eponymous collection. (added by lombregrise)

Crystalline- Similar to a haiku but with some distinct differences, the Crystalline is a 17-syllable poem.


Decuain- Written in iambic pentameter, each of the 10 lines have 10 syllables and follow one of three rhyme schemes. (see link)

Diamante- Similar to the Joseph's Star, but with stricter rules.

Dramatic Monologue- Like a performed monologue in a play, the dramatic monologue is written from the perspective of an individual as if they were speaking to an audience. The piece should be a standalone monologue with full characterisation (as in we should learn everything we need to in the piece, not rely on further commentary from the author).


Ekphrasis- A poem depicting a vivid scene or artwork as a whole.
She Dazzles Me...
She Dazzles Me with Sepia Tones of Light
She dazzles me with sepia tones of light
and lets me touch her earthenware brassiere.
The pounding of my blood distorts my sight.
I hesitate, knowing that I must fight
to whisper silver passion in her ear,
but I am dazzled by her sepia light.
She freely shares her warmth when snow falls white.
She offers all, but seeing her shed tears
can freeze my blood and still distort my sight.
Her earthy glance, her eyes, can down my flight
and bury me in worldly cares' veneer
were I not dazzled by her sepia light.
She hears my soulful song and holds me tight
and preens my wounded id and drowns my fear.
The pounding of my blood distorts my sight.
Her earth and body win my lust. I bite
her flesh and drink her in and hold her near,
and still she dazzles me with sepia light.
She stills my blood to give me earthly sight.

Elegy- A poem of mourning, usually about a death of a person.

Epic-  Originating from ancient poetry, the Epic is a narrative poem, usually telling the tale of a hero or event.

Epulaeryu- There is such thing as a form poem about food. OH YES!


Found- An arrangement of words, phrases, and even whole passages that are taken from other sources and re-framed as poetry. Can also be known as blackout poetry, where the visual format differs.
Bring your candle to glitter again by Itti

Free Verse- A poem with no strict rhyme or meter scheme or any other rules. Also known as "open" poetry.


Ghazal- From Arabic origins, a Ghazal uses couplets and a refrain and is traditionally about love, melancholy and longing.

Glosa- A Spainish fixed form where the introducing stanza (sometimes from another poem) is then responded and reflected in the continuing stanzas.


Haiku- A traditional Japanese poetic form consisting of 17 syllables in 3 phrased lines (5-7-5). The content is usually a reference to nature and considered a single moment or thought contained.

Harrisham- An Indian six lined poem with the rhyming scheme ababab. The last letter of the first word in each line is the first letter of the first word in the next line.


Indrisos- A poem consisting of four stanzas, the first two in terzains and the final two single lines (3-3-1-1)


Joseph's Star- A simple form where the syllable counts on each line are: 1,3,5,7,7,5,3,1 and once central aligned will create a diamond-like shape.


Kimo- An Israeli haiku where the syllable count is often 10-7-6

Kyrielle- A kyrielle is written in rhyming couplets or quatrains. Originally the phrase "Lord have mercy" would end each stanza, though in more modern forms a variant of this is more likely to be used.


La Libertas- A 22 line form poem with the stanza in lines of 4,6,4,6,2. (see link)

Limerick- Limericks are a short form of poetry, made to have a humourous edge to them. They are comprised of five lines with an AABBA rhyme scheme.

Lipogram- Not necessarily a poetic form, but the concept to write with a missing letter, most commonly "e".

Luc Bát-  A Vietnamese form alternating between 6 and 8 syllables each line. (added by ThornyEnglishRose


Monostich/Monoku- A single lined poem or Haiku.

Monotetra- Each line in the 4-line stanza has 8 syllables and follows an AAAA BBBB (no limit on stanzas)


Nonfiction Poetry- Nonfiction poetry accomplishes the goal of a nonfiction piece but does it through poetry instead of prose. Nonfiction writing attempts to inform or instruct by conveying facts.

Nonet- A 9-lined poem where the first line has 9 syllables, the second 8 and so forth.


Ode- A lyrical form written as a dedication to a person or object. There are three typical types of odes: the Pindaric, Horatian, and Irregular. (see link)

Ottava Rima- An Italian originating poem with a rhyme scheme of ABABABCC.


PantoumA pantoum, unlike most traditional fixed forms, has no set line limit. It consists of numerous four-line stanzas in ABAB format with the second and fourth line of each repeating as the first and third line of the next stanza. (added by TheSkaBoss)

Petrarchan- A form of Sonnet from Italian origin with a scheme of ABBAABBA CDECDE


Quadrilew- A form with an ABAB rhyming scheme, but alternating syllable counts


Renga- A genre of Japanese collaborative poetry that consists of at least two ku or stanzas, and usually many more. The opening stanza of the renga, called the hokku, became the basis for the modern haiku form of poetry.

Rondeau- from French origins, a Rondeau is a 15-line poem with two different rhymes (AB), varying in pattern in each stanza (see link for full details)


Scifaku- A Science Fiction Haiku that follows the same principals as a haiku but the themes explore scifi, fantasy and horror etc.
:star: Scifaiku Poetry Form by vespera

Senryu- A form of Haiku, Senryu uses humour and satire to examine human society.

Sestina- A ridiculously complex form, with wonderful results. The Sestina originates from the 12th century and have continued their popularity throughout time.
How to Write a SestinaIn order to write a sestina,
you must start by being unsure,
quickly switching from cold to hot
to cold and to hot again,
the temperature being like a cat
in the Sahara desert at dusk.
Sit on your porch at dusk,
watch the clouds create their sestinas.
As you watch, allow your cat
beside you, her tongue lapping unsurely
from a cup. Look up again,
wonder if milk would be hot
if left out. It is hot;
There is a heat about dusk.
Forget. Forget about the poem again,
Look around. Everywhere, there are sestinas.
Not just in the cool, unsure
ripples your cat
makes, the gentle clink clink your cat's
teeth make as she tips her hot
tongue against her cup. In unsure
clouds, sestinas. Not just in dusk
either. And mosquitoes make stinging sestinas.
Crumple a sheet of paper. Again.
Now throw it out, again and again.
Eventually, sensing a toy, your cat
will chase it. Wonder what a sestina
really is. The pen will feel hot
in your hand. Take some paper. Dusk
is now ending; Be absolutely sure
this time yo

Slam- A modern poetry form, slam poetry is a fast paced form of spoken word poetry, often performed in a live competition.

Sonnet- Often considered a Shakespearean form, the English sonnet comprises of a scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG and often written in Iambic Pentameter.

Spoken Word- Based on the dada and beat poetry that emerged in the 1960's. The style is focussed on the sound of words as much as the content, and not always written down in full due to the spontaneous quality of the performance.


TanagaA type of Filipino Poem. It is considered a dying form. It consists of four lines, each line with seven syllables (7-7-7-7). Normally, Tanaga are not given titles, similarly to Haikus- but one can opt to give a title. Although Tanaga is intended for the Filipino language, it can be written in other languages such as English. In fact, it is highly encouraged. (added by PizzaPotatoNBacon)

Tanka- A Japanese poetry form consisting of a syllable pattern of 5-7-5-7-7

Terza Rima- An Italian rhyming poem where each 3-lined stanza has a continuous chain in the rhyming: A-B-A, B-C-B, C-D-C, D-E-D. (added by TheSkaBoss)

Terzanelle- A hybrid of a Villanelle and Terza Rima

Triolet- A poem structured of 8 lines with the rhyme scheme: ABaAabAB




Vedas- A range of Indian form poetry, often chanted in repetition, metric, unrhymed and written in variation. (added by neurotype)

Villanelle- A non narrative fixed form of 19 lines- consisting of five three-line stanzas and a final quatrain.

Visual- Now this gets a bit confusing... on dA, "Visual poetry" has seemed to represent a collaboration of a poem and image together to compliment the content of both. Beyond dA, Visual is similar to concrete poetry, where the visual text arrangement is significant to the content, but unlike concrete poetry isn't exclusive to the text (i.e. a series of images or the structure of the poem not necessarily creating the picture alone). Any further conversation on the definition of this is welcome!






Yadu- Originating from Burma, the Yadu consists of three stanzas of 5 lines and a "Climbing" rhyme scheme (see link)


Zanila Rhyme- A minimum of 3 stanzas, this form has a rhyme scheme of abcb and a syllable count of 9/7/9/9.

NB: With most Eastern formed poetry (i.e Haiku, Renga) you don't necessarily have to be strict with the syllables. Through language, Eastern versus Western syllables don't accurately match- so you can actually be as brief as you like with these forms, its more about the content than the syllable counts. However, it is really important to be super familiar with the rules and form before you go exploring :D

Additional Resources!

These links are sources where I got my info from. Some of them have even more forms than what I have listed!

:star: Poetry Soup- Forms of Poetry Has an alphabetised glossary of poetic forms and termology.
:star: Shadow Poetry- A poets resource- An extensive list of different poetry forms as well as a fantastic resource of famous poetry, and poetry for beginners.
:star: Project DFC form chart 2012- A list of the forms used in :devproject-dfc: with some wonderful details as to what each form is.
:star: The Poet Garret recommended by ShadowedAcolyte)
:star: And the ever faithful Wikipedia :)

:iconfixed-form-poetry: :iconformfindsfunction: :iconcrowns-of-sonnets: :iconprojectdfc:

Questions for you!

1. Which forms have you read before?
2. Which forms have you tried to write before? How was the experience? (You may link ONE piece if you like)
3. Are you going to try any of these forms now following this article?
4. Are there other forms not included here we should add? (Please provide info/links so I can just copy/paste!)
5. Have you ever tried to create your own fixed form? Share your experience!

A list of poetry forms! With lots of links, questions and features! In conjunction with #projecteducate and #CRLiterature

:star: Updated list 29/05/13
Add a Comment:
Snowy-shadow Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is incredibly helpful. 
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hi there! This article has been included as a resource in today's Writers of the Revolution.

You can check out the blog here!: [link]

:heart: from the admins at
bxnnibel Featured By Owner May 31, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think I wrote some free verse poems, one of them is:
Bullcross Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh, almost forgot to write answers :d
1. I've read Italian Sonnets by Eastern symbolist poets (Slavic), mainly because I don't like English poetry; a lot of blank verse in the literature movement of Diabolism, QUITE a lot of free verse here on DA, all those diffrent combinations of syllables and rhymes, all that good stuff.
2. I've got an Italian Sonnete, most of my works flow in A-B-A-B or A-B-B-A, but I've also tried the more uncommon longer lines with the A-B-B-C-C-A or other combinations (I adopted that from a famous Bugarian poet). And yesterday I dedicated a poem with A-B-A-A rhymying pattern and closed loop strutcure (one of my favourite) to a girl (I think this pattern was Persian).
3. I most definetly will.
4. None that I can think of right now... perhaps some custom long-block rhymying stanzas.
5. I have, actually, but... it's not in English; Nevertheless:
Облегнала лицето си румено
На своите нежни китки.
Кафявите й очи мен отчаяно
Следят и червена напитка
Нейното отражение пленила е.
А тая нощ ясна родила е
Снежинки мъждукащи там,
Галещи топлия въздух,
Който носи нейното ухание
На парфюм като дух,
Витаещ около Дамата в червено.
И като кръвта в вените
Мои нейните устни скромни
Трепят неуморно
Във ритъм безжнизнен.
- It's a technique where you have to write the first line with at least 3-4 more syllables than the following one, with A-A-B-B then A-B-A-B then again A-A-B-B-C rhymes, all written in a single block.
I have some more, but I can't really show them, I don't want to confuse you with outlandish laguages.
Have a nice day, and I apologise for the hasty comment!
Bullcross Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Nevertheless, I once again salute this great and interesting topic, which reminds me why I'm still following each and every submission
Bullcross Featured By Owner May 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
... And 90% of poets on DA think poetry is merely Free Verse and that's it. It's really a shame I don't see ANYTHING else on the front page or in the galleries of the "big" ones. Alas...
cality Featured By Owner May 29, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
A very helpful list, thank you! I've not really tried any of these forms, but perhaps I will give some a go! :la:

Wikipedia. :dummy:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2013
I am already on a haiku backlog, now I see Epulaeryu :crying:

Beccalicious Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013   Writer
Next month is napopwrimo so plenty of time ;)
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013
What's that? o_O National Pop Writing Month? o__O
So many :noes: This was my first time doing a wrimo. Even though I am late D:
I just finished upto eighth day one D:
At least, February has less days >_>
Add a Comment: