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Types of Poetic Forms

  • Formula Poems
A formula poem is a poem in which every line is begun in the same way or a   particular kind of word in every line is inserted; a poem that employs repetition, i.e. a stylistic device that is more effective for young poets than rhyme. Formula poems may include:

(1) “I Wish …. “ poems
(2) Color poems
(3) Five-senses poems
(4) “If I Were … poems
(5) “I Used to …, But Now…” poems
(6) “….. Is” poems
(7) Preposition poems

Example (Five-Senses Poem)
                        Being Heartbroken
Sounds like thunder and lightning
Looks like a carrot going through a blender
Tastes like sour milk
Feels like a splinter in your finger
Smells like a dead fish
It must be horrible

  • Free-Form Poems
Free-form poems are poems in which words are chosen to describe something and put together to express a thought or tell a story, without concern for rhyme or other arrangements. The number of words per line and the use of punctuation vary. Free-form poems may include:

(1) Concrete poems (words, phrases, sentences written in the shape of  an object)
(2) Found poems (culling words from other sources: songs, articles, stories)

Example (Found Poem)

                        Fast Moving
Moving down the track,
faster than fast, is Richard Petty
seven-time winner of
the crowned jewel
Daytona 500.
At 210 mph– dangerous-
pushing his engine to the limit.
Other NASCARs running fast
but Richard Petty takes the lead
at last.
Running across the line
with good time.

  • Syllable- and Word-Count Poems
Syllable- and word-count poems are poems that provide a certain structure consisting certain syllables or words. Syllable- and word-count poems may include:

(1) Haiku (17 syllables arranged in three lines, 5, 7, and 5 => nature)
(2) Tanka (31 syllables arranged in five lines, 5-7-5-7-7 => nature)
(3) Cinquain (22 syllables arranged in five lines, 2-4-6-8-2 => something, story)
(4) Diamante (seven-line contrast poem written in a shape of a diamond)

Example (Diamante)

wrinkled tiny
crying wetting sleeping
rattles diapers money house
caring working loving
smart helpful

  • Rhymed Verse Forms
Rhymed Verse Forms are forms of poems that utilize both rhyme and rhythm as their poetic devices. These include:

(1) Limerick (5 lines, 1st, 2nd, 5th lines rhyme; 3rd, 4th rhyme  rhyme scheme: a-a-b-b-a; last line contains a funny, surprising ending)
(2) Clerihews (4 lines describing historical figures, characters of stories; rhyme scheme: a-b-a-b)

Example (Limerick)

There once was a frog named Pete
Who did nothing but sit and eat
He examined each fly
With so careful an eye
And then said, “You’re dead meat.”

  • Model Poems
Model poems are poems that are modeled on poems composed by  
adult/renown poets. Model poems include:

(1) Apologies (Model of William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say”)
(2) Invitations (Model of Shakespeare’s “Come Unto These Yellow Sands”)
(3) Prayers from the Ark (Model of Carmen Bernos de Gasztold’s “Prayers
      from the Ark”)
(4) If I were in Charge of the World (Judith Viorst’s “If I Were in Charge of the

Example (Invitation)

                                        The Golden Shore
Come unto the golden shore
Where days are filled with laughter,
And nights filled with whispering winds.
Where sunflowers and sun
Are filled with love.
Come take my hand
As we walk into the sun.

For more poetic forms: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/glossary-terms?category=forms-and-types
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