Forms of Poetry
Euterpe, Muse of Lyric Poetry and Music
When I published Poetry Forms in January 2013, I never dreamed how successful that article would be. Poets began writing poems in styles which were new to them. People who had never written poems began writing micropoetry. haiku, haiga, and senryu were making many more appearances.
A number of people have commented that they bookmarked the article and are using it as reference material.
Maria Jordan (who publishes articles on HubPages using the pseudonym marcoujor) challenged herself to write a poem in each of the 15 poetic forms discussed in the article.
Series of Articles
Forms of Poetry describes poetic forms not discussed in my previous article. I hadn't intended Poetry Forms to be the start of a series, but it appears that that is what has happened.
My hope is that more poets will be encouraged to try forms of poetry which are new to them, and more readers will write their first poem.
An epic poem is an extremely long multi-stanza poem.
A quatrain is a four-line verse (stanza).
A quintain is a five-line stanza (verse).
A refrain is a word, phrase, or line which is repeated one or more times in a poem.
A rhyme is the sharing of an ending sound between words on two or more lines in a poem.
A rhyming pattern or scheme is the combination of rhymes in a poem. It is the order in which the rhymes are presented.
Rhyming notation is the manner in which rhymes are indicated. It is the visual representation of the rhymes in articles about poetry, in textbooks, in classroom discussions. The alphabet is used to designate rhyming partnerships.
Please see my descriptions of the poetic forms abhanga and dizain for examples of rhyming patterns.
Poetic Forms Discussed in Poetry Forms Article
The following chart lists the types of poetry discussed in Poetry Forms. Please refer to that article if you would like to know more about these poetic styles.
Most poets showcase their work in printed form. Some produce beautiful videos, which enable us to hear them reading their work. Please listen to Vincent Moore reading one of his poems.
Non-English and Non-Japanese Poetry Forms
While conducting my research for this article, I discovered a number of forms of poetry which didn't originate in either the English or Japanese languages.
Abhanga (India | Marathi)
Abhanga originated in India in the 17th century. The first abhanga were devotional poems written in Marathi by individuals considered saints. Abhanga are still sung in ritual marches by devotees of saint-poets Dyaneshwar, Namdeo, and Tukaram.
Abhanga consist of four lines totaling 22 syllables. The first three lines are six syllables long. The fourth line is four syllables. In addition to having a syllable pattern, abhanga have a rhyming pattern. The second and third lines rhyme, and the first and fourth lines do not.
Syllable pattern: 6 - 6 - 6 - 4
Rhyming pattern: a - b - b - c
Since the poem is short and the rhyming pattern is not complicated, contemporary Indian and non-Indian poets have begun writing non-religious abhanga. Some poets are not using rhymes at all, Non-rhyming abhanga in the 6 - 6 - 6 - 4 format appear similar to haiku and senryu in the 5 - 7 - 5 format and trilinea in the 4 - 8 - 4 format.
Balassi Stanza (Hungary | Hungarian)
The Balassi Stanza was developed by Baron Bálint Balassi de Kékkő et Gyarmat, a 16th century Hungarian lyricist. Baron Balassi, the founder of modern Hungarian poetry, was the first person to write erotic poetry in Hungarian.
To create one of his stanzas, Baron Balassi took an existing three-line format and broke it down further. Each of the three lines had 19 syllables, for a total syllable count of 57:
19 - 19 - 19.
Balassi changed each line to a syllable pattern of 6 - 6 - 7 (still 19 syllables). The three lines then became 6 - 6 - 7 | 6 - 6 - 7 | 6 - 6 - 7.
After he changed the syllable pattern, Balassi added a rhyming scheme:
a - a - b | c - c - b | d - d - b.
Poetry written using Baron Balassi's syllable count and rhyming pattern can be written as a one-stanza poem or with multiple stanzas.
Dizain (France | French)
A dizain is a poetic form which originated in France in the late-14th to early-15th centuries. The poem has either eight or 10 lines, with either eight or 10 syllables per line. The same number of syllables must be used throughout a dizain. Variations in line length are not allowed within a given poem.
In addition to there being rules regarding the number of syllables and number of lines, a dizain has a specific rhyming pattern.
For the more common 10-line dizain, the rhyming pattern is
a – b – a – b – b – c – c – d – c – d
In the 8-line dizain, the rhyming pattern is
a – b – a – b – c – d – c – d
Monchielle (Norway | Norwegian)
The Monchielle was developed by Norwegian poet Jim T. Henriksen (1974 - ). The poem consists of four five-line stanzas (quintains), with every line being six syllables long. Lines three and five rhyme, while lines one, two, and four do not.
The first line in each of the four stanzas is a refrain. It repeats—the first line is the same in each stanza.
Ode (Greece | Greek)
Created by the Greeks, the ode originated as a choral song to be used in Greek drama. Odes were arranged in stanzas which included moving from a lyrical premise (strophe), a return to the premise (antistrophe), and a finish (epode). During the drama, the chorus would walk across the stage while singing the strophe and walk back across in the opposite direction while singing the antistrophe.
In the 19th century, the ode evolved into lyrical poetry rather than songs. It became a poem with a lyrical quality which spoke directly to its subject. Although not a requirement, most odes use the word "ode" in the poem's title.
Ottava Rima (Italy | Italian)
Italian poets developed ottava rima poems in the 14th century. Ottava rima began as epic poems about religious or heroic subjects, but later there was an about-face, and the poems began mocking these concepts.
Ottava rima poems have one or more eight-line stanzas (octets), with 10 or 11 syllables per line. The rhyming pattern is similar to that of a sonnet.
a - b - a - b - a - b - c - c ...
d - e - d - e - d - e - f - f ...
g - h - g - h - g - h - i - i ...
[there is no limit to the number of stanzas an ottava rima can have]
Quatern (France | French)
A quatern is a 16-line poem which originated in France. It is composed of four quatrains (4-line stanzas), with each line having eight syllables.
The poem has a refrain—a repeating line. The refrain is the first line of the first stanza, the second line of the second stanza, the third line of the third stanza, and the fourth line of the fourth stanza. Since the refrain is such an important part of the poem, when writing a quatern, it is a good idea to write the refrain first.
English Language Odes
Odes written in the English language are lyrical poems dedicated to someone or something about which the poet has a strong feeling.
Which type of poetry do you prefer—free verse (open verse) or structured poetry?See results without voting
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