Here are the definitions of the poetry forms to the best of our knowledge, as we have used them.
An abstract poem is more about how the words of the poem sound or the rhythm of the words, more than the meaning of the words.
An acrostic poem is when the first letters of each line of the poem spell out a word or a message.
An ae freishlighe is an Irish form with four lines in each stanza, each line has seven syllables, lines 1 and 3 rhyme, but the last rhyming word of each line must be three syllables, lines 2 and 4 rhyme but their last word must be two syllables. And finally, your final syllable, word or line of your pome has to be the same as how it starts, which is called dunadh.
A blackout poem is created by redacting words from an established text, such as a newspaper article or another poem.
Bob and Wheel
A bob and wheel poem is a five line poem, with a rhyme scheme of ababa. The first line has two or three syllables, and the rest of the lines have six syllables per line.
The Bop is three stanzas and each stanza is followed by a refrain. The first stanza is six lines and presents a problem, the second stanza is eight lines long and expands on the problem, and the final stanza is six lines long and either has a solution to the problem or the failure of the attempt at solving the problem.
A breccbairdne is an Irish form in four line stanzas, with five syllables in the first line and six syllables in each of the other three, each line ends with a two-syllable word, lines 2 and 4 rhyme, and each end word consonate (have a repeated consonant sound).
A cascade is a variable length poem where each line from the first stanza becomes the last line of the following stanzas. So if the first stanza is ABCD, then second stanza is efgA, third stanza is hijB, fourth is klmC, and fifth is nopD.
A cento is a poem created from lines from previously written poems.
A chant incorporates repetitive lines that form a sort of chant. Each line can repeat, or every other line.
A chueh-chu (translate to “sonnet cut short”) is a Chinese form with a consistent number of syllables in each of its eight lines (usually between eight and 10 syllables) and one of the following rhyme schemes: aaba/cada, abcb/dbeb, or aaba/aaca.
A cinquain is five line poem inspired by the tanka, with the syllable count: 2/4/6/8/2.
A concrete poem is a visual poem where the shape of the poem informs its theme.
A couplet is a pair of (usually) rhyming lines.
A descort is a French form where each line has different lengths, meter, rhyme, words, etc. Each line should be intentionally unique.
A diminishing verse poem is where one letter from the end word of the previous line is removed. For example, if line 1 ends with “beer,” line 2 could end with “bee,” and line 3 with “be.”
A dizain poem is a French form in one 10 line stanza with 10 syllables in each line, and the rhyme scheme ababbccdcd.
A doditsu is a four line Japanese form with seven syllables in lines 1, 2, and 3, and five syllables in line 4.
A double dactyl poem is two quatrains (four line stanzas) where each quatrain has three double dactyl (two lines that have a stress then two unstressed sounds) followed by a dactyl-spondee (a spondee is two stressed syllables) pair line and the two spondees in the quatrains rhyme. The first line of the poem is a nonsense phrase and the second line is a proper noun. Usually the second to last line is a single six-syllable word.
A duplex is a 14-line poem composed of seven couplets, where the first line of the subsequent couplets mirror the previous line and the second line of the couplets introduce a new idea or image. Also, the first and last line of the duplex mirror each other.
An echo poem is a poem where the end syllable is repeated, either at the end of the same line or as its own line.
Ekphrastic poetry is poetry that is about art in vivid detail.
An elevenie is a German form (Elfchen) containing only 11 words, in a specific order. Line 1 is one word, which is a thought, an object, color, or something similar. Line 2 is two words, which say what the word from line 1 does. Line 3 is three words, which say where or how the word from line 1 is. Line 4 is four words, which go into more detail. And Line 5 is one word as a conclusion.
An elegy is a poem that expresses sorrow or mourning over the end of a person or a thing.
An endecha is a four-line stanza with the rhyme scheme abcb, with the syllable count 7-7-7-11.
An epitaph is a short poem (like a couplet) that usually would appear on a tombstone and typically rhymes.
An exquisite corpse is a method of writing poetry where one poet writes a line and passes it to another poet who writes a corresponding line and then hides the first line before passing it to a third poet who repeats these actions. This pattern of passing, writing, and hiding continues for as long as needed.
A Fibonacci poem is typically a six line poem that follows the Fibonacci sequence for its syllable count (1/1/2/3/5/8). Additional lines can be written where the syllable count for following lines are the summation of the previous two lines (so the seventh line would have 13 syllables, 5+8).
A flamenca poem is a Spanish five line form, where lines 1, 2, 4, and 5 have six syllables, and line 3 has five syllables. Also, lines 2 and 5 assonate (have a repeated vowel sound).
Free verse is a form without consistent meter or rhyme, and usually follows the rhythm of natural speech.
A gogyohka poem is Japanese form is a five line form, and the only rule is that it has one phrase per line.
A golden shovel poem takes a line or lines from another poem and then uses each word in the line(s) as end words in the new poem in the same order.
A haibun is a prose poem followed by a haiku.
A haiku is Japanese form thought of as a three line poem with syllable count of 5/7/5 when written in English. However, traditionally what is important in a haiku is to have a kigo (season word) and a kireji (cutting word), which cuts the stream of thought if used in the middle of a verse, or provides closure to the poem if used at the end of a verse.
A haiku sonnet is four haiku and a couplet, which adds to 14 lines–the same number in a sonnet.
A hay(na)ku is three lines with one word in the first line, two in the second, and three in the third.
A hutiain is a French eight-line form, with a rhyme scheme of ababbcbc and usually has eight to 10 syllables per line.
An imayo poem is Japanese form of four lines with 12 syllables in each line; however, in each line there is a pause between the first seven syllables and the last five syllables.
A katauta is a three line poem of 5/7/7 syllables and is addressed to a lover.
A kimo is an Israeli form similar to the haiku. It is three lines with no rhymes and the syllable count 10/7/6.
A kouta is a Japanese form in four lines with the syllable count of 7/5/7/5 or 7/7/7/5.
A kwansaba poem is inspired by Kwanzaa and is a poem of praise in seven lines with seven words per line, none of which can exceed seven letters.
A kyrielle is French poem in four line stanzas with one of the following rhyme schemes: aabb; abab; aaab; abcb. And the fourth line of each stanza has a refrain.
A lai is a French poem in nine lines with the rhyme scheme of aabaabaab, and the a lines have five syllables and the b lines have two syllables.
A landay is composed of any number of couplets, where the first line in each couplet has nine syllables and the second has 13. They typically focus on the themes of love, grief, war, etc.
A limerick is a five line poem, where lines 1, 2, and 5 are longer and rhyme, and lines 3 and 4 are shorter and rhyme together. While there isn’t a syllable count per line, the longer lines are usually around 8-10 and the shorter lines are usually six.
A magic 9 poem is a nine line poem with the rhyme scheme of abacadaba.
A Mistress Bradstreet poem is an eight line poem with syllable count of 10/10/6/8/10/10/6/12 and rhyme scheme of abcbddba.
A mondo is a collaborative question-and-answer poem, typically in two stanzas of 5/7/7 syllables where the first stanza poses a question and the second gives an answer.
A monotetra is a poem in four line mono-rhymed stanzas with eight syllables in each line and the last line is four syllables repeated.
A narrative poem is a form of poetry that tells a story, usually in metered verse.
A Nasher, invented by and named for Ogden Nash, are couplets with comical rhymes (including wrenched rhymes).
A nonet is a nine line poem with nine syllables in the first line, eight in the second line, and one fewer in each line until the last line that has just one syllable.
An ode is a poem of flattery. There are three well-known types: the Horation (with one stanza pattern that repeats throughout the poem), the Pindaric (where the first stanza and second have identical meters, and the third is different), and the irregular (which just focuses on the praising aspect of the poem).
An ottava rima is an Italian poem, with a rhyme scheme of abababcc, typically with 10 syllables in each line.
A palindrome poem is a poem that takes the form of a palindrome, in that the order of the words of the first half of the poem are reversed in the second half of the poem.
A paradelle is a four-stanza poem with six line in each stanza. In the first three stanzas the first and second lines are the same, the third and fourth lines are the same, and the fifth and sixth lines are made up of all the words from the first and third lines and only the words from the first and third lines. The fourth stanza should be made up of all the words in the fifth and sixth lines of the first three stanzas and only the words from the fifth and sixth lines of the first three stanzas.
A prose poem is not broken into verse lines.
A quintilla is a spanish form in five lines that has eight syllables in each line. It also has an “ab” rhyme scheme, but you can choose the rhyme scheme order so long as two lines have an “a” rhyme and at least two have a “b” rhyme and the poem doesn’t end in a rhyming couplet. (So it must end either as ab or ba).
Examples: aabba / ababa / abaab / aabab / aabba / etc.
A rhupunt is a Welsh form where each stanza has three to five lines and each line has five syllables, with every line except the last in the stanza rhyming with each other and the final lines rhyme with each other (for example a 3 four line stanzas would be aaab/cccb/dddb).
A rime couee is a French form in six line stanzas with syllable count 8/8/6/8/8/6 and a rhyme scheme of aabccb.
A rondel supreme is a French form of 14 lines in three stanzas. The first two stanzas have four lines and the final one has six. The rhyme scheme is ABba/abAB/abbaAB, where the capital letters are refrains.
A saraband is a seven line poem with eight or 10 syllables per line with the rhyme scheme of aaabcbc.
A seadna is an Irish form in four line stanzas with eight syllables in lines 1 and 3 and seven syllables in lines 2 and 4. Lines 1 and 3 end with a two-syllable word and lines 2 and 4 end with a one-syllable word and rhyme with each other.
A shadorma is a Spanish form in six lines with the syllable count of 3/5/3/3/7/5.
A sijo is a Korean form of three lines with 14-16 syllables per line. Line 1 introduces a theme, line 2 develops the theme or has a turn in argument, and line 3 has a twist and conclusion.
Skeltonic verse, also known as tumbling verse since it “tumbles” down the page, has short lines with around six syllables (two or three stresses), irregular rhymes, rhythms, and alliterations.
A somonka is a collaborative Japanese form that is basically two tankas written as love letters to each other.
A sonnet is a 14 line poem that is often written in iambic pentameter and has the rhyme scheme abab/cdcd/efef/gg.
A stornello is an Italian form in three lines with 11 syllables in each line and a rhyme scheme of aaa.
A tanka is a Japanese five line poem of 5/7/5/7/7 syllables.
A terzanelle is a 19 line poem with the refrain/rhyme scheme of A1BA2 / bCB / cDC / dED / eFE / fA1FA2 where capital letters are refrains (and rhyme with lowercase counterparts) and A1 and A2 are two separate, but rhyming, refrains.
A terza rima is any number of three-line stanzas with an xyx rhyme scheme, where the unrhymed line (y) becomes the rhyming pair in the next stanza. For example: aba, bcb, cdc, ded, efe, ghg, etc.
A tanka is a Welsh four line poem of 10/9/10/9 syllables and rhyme scheme of abcb. Also, a syllable near the end of line one rhymes with a syllable in the middle of line two and a syllable near the end of line three rhymes with a syllable in the middle of line four.
A treochair is an Irish form in three line stanzas that have the syllable count 3/7/7, the first and third lines rhyme, and has a lot of alliteration.
A tricube is three stanzas, of three lines each, with three syllables in each line.
A triolet is a French form in eight lines with the rhyme scheme of ABaAabAB, where the capital letters are refrains.
A triversen is a form invented by William Carlos Williams where each stanza equals one sentence, and each stanza is broken into three lines of two to four beats per line. The entire poem should add up to 18 lines (six stanzas).
A viator is a form where the first line is a refrain that reappears in the second line of the second stanza, the third line of the third stanza, fourth line of the fourth stanza, etc.
A waka is a Japanese form of five lines that is similar to the tanka with a 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count structure, but in the waka, the first two lines make up one piece, the third and fourth lines make up a second piece, and the final line can stand on its own.
A Waltmarie poem is 10 lines where the even lines have two syllables and odd lines are longer (but don’t have a specified syllable count), and the even lines can be read separately as their own mini-poem.
A zappai is similar to a haiku, as it has a 5/7/5 syllable structure, but doesn’t have a seasonal reference.