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What Is This Thing Called Poetry?

Updated on August 6, 2014

Visual Poetry

"Elegia per Dylan Thomas" is a Visual Poem as a homage to Dylan Thomas
"Elegia per Dylan Thomas" is a Visual Poem as a homage to Dylan Thomas | Source


A form of poetry with fourteen lines, which follows a rhyming scheme and principled structure.

Shakespeare sonnet
Shakespeare sonnet | Source


A basic form of formal Chinese poetry, which has eight lines in four couplets, with parallelism between the lines in the second and third couplets.

Jintishi | Source


A form of poetry which has been used regularly in the English language since the late 19th century having a nineteen lines with five triplets and a closing quatrain.

Classic Villanelle
Classic Villanelle | Source


A form of Japanese poetry which is unrhymed has five units and follows the pattern of Onji.

Tanka | Source


A very short form of Japanese poetry which extends in a vertical line, and having 17 Onji.

Haiku | Source


Usually written in lyrical verse, praising or dedicating to someone or something in which the poet has been inspired.

An Ode
An Ode | Source


A poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain with shared meter, which focuses on one subject: love, or more specifically an illicit or unattainable love.

Ghazal | Source


A form of poetry which follows 15 lines and written on two rhymes, and corresponds to poignant musical form.

Classic Rondeau
Classic Rondeau | Source

Are You a True Poet?

I'm not a true poet.

Honestly, I don't really know if that's a fact, but I've interacted with some interesting people who claim otherwise, and I find that surprising.

So, I ask myself what is a true poet?

Or better yet ...

What exactly is poetry???

Since I've recently tried my hand and dabbled in the writing craft, I've decided to set myself on a mission, an investigation if you will into the realm of poetry.

First and foremost, I find that the majority of poetic forms are nothing but a complete conundrum of rules and boundaries which aggravate me to no end.

To me, these rules make absolutely no sense at all.

Why take freedom from voice, and taper it to a bunch of fixed rules?

I have no interest in following these strict guidelines solely because I'm a free spirit and one who doesn't easily follow the rules. After much research on the subject, I've learned that most forms of poetry are "confined" to form.

I've come to the conclusion that the uninhibited form of "free verse" poetry is a style much more catered to my willful palette than any other form.

What is free-verse poetry?

Free verse or free style as I'd much rather term is a form of poetry that does not adhere to any set pattern. Though it is considered "free" in its form there, is still some elements that a poet must bind to due to convention.

Some of the best known poets of free verse are figures such as Robert Graves, Christina Rossetti (sister of famed Pre-Raphaelite Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti), Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and D.H. Lawrence, just to name a few.

As for the subject of free verse form ... there is no limit as to what a poet can focus on. Whether feelings of fear, loss, desolation, despair, outrage, isolation and pain, or beauty, love, seduction, happiness and peace, the poet can openly express his thoughts without the hindrance of a regulated pattern, a poetic form without heavy confines.

As an example, here is a famous free verse poem titled,

"Free Verse"

by Robert Graves

I now delight

In spite
Of the might
And the right
Of classic tradition,
In writing
And reciting
Straight ahead,
Without let or omission,
Just any little rhyme
In any little time
That runs in my head;
Because, I’ve said,
My rhymes no longer shall stand arrayed
Like Prussian soldiers on parade
That march,
Stiff as starch,
Foot to foot,
Boot to boot,
Blade to blade,
Button to button,
Cheeks and chops and chins like mutton.
No! No!
My rhymes must go
Turn ’ee, twist ’ee,
Twinkling, frosty,
Will-o’-the-wisp-like, misty;
Rhymes I will make
Like Keats and Blake
And Christina Rossetti,
With run and ripple and shake.
How pretty
To take
A merry little rhyme
In a jolly little time
And poke it,
And choke it,
Change it, arrange it,
Straight-lace it, deface it,
Pleat it with pleats,
Sheet it with sheets
Of empty conceits,
And chop and chew,
And hack and hew,
And weld it into a uniform stanza,
And evolve a neat,
Complacent, complete,

Academic extravaganza!

Now that I've found my niche in poetic form, I also found that it is good practice to understand the different genres associated with poetry.

Here are the classical poetic categories:

Narrative Poetry

Epic Poetry

Dramatic poetry

Satirical Poetry

Lyric Poetry


Verse Fable

Prose Poetry

Speculative Poetry

Even though I prefer the nuance of free verse poetry, in no way do I discredit the masters of classical poetic form. I admire these poets for their careful adherence and rigid structure to the poetic verse, something in which I wholly admit that I can not conquer, nor probably will I ever.

An All Time Favorite

In close, I leave you with one of my all time favorite poems This inspiring iambic and tetrameter work of art is titled:


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really
about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step
had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how
way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be
telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged
in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all
the difference.

Robert Frost

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Robert Frost

© 2012 ziyena


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  • arb profile image

    arb 5 years ago from oregon

    Perhaps poetry is simply us, poured into empty words who were waiting for someone looking for a home. I suspect they find you a worthy resident. Words, an empty house that the poet makes a home.

  • rahul0324 profile image

    Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

    I love " The Road Not Taken" By Robert Frost....

    Great article... very informative and interesting!

  • ziyena profile image

    ziyena 5 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Yes, no rules!!!

  • April Reynolds profile image

    April Reynolds 5 years ago from Arizona

    I totally agree, free verse is better. I had forgotten poetry had so many rules. I'm sure I learned it in school long ago.

  • ziyena profile image

    ziyena 5 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Thanks Katrine!

  • ziyena profile image

    ziyena 5 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Is your anthology published on Hub?

    Let me know ... I'd like to read.

  • profile image

    diogenes 5 years ago

    Poetry was a big part of my life once and I studied many of the traditional styles and tried to write some within those strictures (a few are on HP).

    I still enjoy reading poetry or even light verse no matter what kind it is (free or end rhyme, etc).

    Some of yours have been enjoyable.

    I published an anthology, "Charged Particles"


  • profile image

    KatrineDalMonte 5 years ago

    Hi, it's a great hub! I have really enjoyed reading it. A well presented information on a subject I didn't know that much about. I had no idea there were so many various types of poetry. Acoompanied by interesting photos. Thank you and well done.

  • sam209 profile image

    sam209 5 years ago

    your writing skills are beautiful so I say you're definitely a poet! Another great hub! And also very useful!

  • ziyena profile image

    ziyena 5 years ago from Southern Colorado

    You're welcome Barnsey.

    I wrote this piece because I really had no clue about poetry.

    I'm glad that I did. I definitely have a better understanding.

    I keep telling myself that at this rate, if I keep writing such informative articles on the HUB ... I'm going to be a genius before long. :)

    As all you HUBBERS are!

  • Barnsey profile image

    Barnsey 5 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

    I have never paid attention to the proposed guidelines for writing poems since, like you, I found them to be unreasonable considering the inherent nature of poems and poets in general. Huzzah, I say, Huzzah! That being said it is quite interesting to learn about these variations,thanks for the info!

  • ziyena profile image

    ziyena 5 years ago from Southern Colorado


    I never would have thought that you've been writing poetry for only two months! Amazing

  • ziyena profile image

    ziyena 5 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Thank you Billy

    I'm very flattered since I've always worried about my grammatical weakness! Seriously

  • cleaner3 profile image

    cleaner3 5 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

    My favorite is "Yon Solitary Reaper" by William Wordsworth. after reading this poem I was hooked.

    I will tell you that I had never written free verse poems until I joined hubpages 2 months ago. in fact I did not like poetry until I read that poem.

    Great hub

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    You included my favorite Frost poem. I'll tell you what I like about your writing, and this may not seem like a big deal but to this old teacher it have excellent grammar and you understand how to use it. I like this hub and I applaud you for your writing style.

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

    Hi, Fascinating reading, and I didn't realise how many types of poetry there were, I know Haiku of course, but only because of the writers on here. I have written a few poems but never try and follow a certain style, I am not sure exactly what I would call it, just free flowing I suppose, wonderful info, and the poems are lovely, pinned and voted!

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