In-FORM-ation – My List of Poetry Forms

Forms A -E

ABECEDEARIUS

Abecedarius is an alphabetic acrostic or a poem in which each line or stanza begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. Historically, it was widely used in religious aspects as the beginning of prayers, hymns and oracles. As time progressed, variations of the method developed and new types of acrostics appeared.

Some methods included using the first letter of the stanza, first letter of the first word, and last letter of the last word in the line.

Example: A Good Girl Who Does

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ACROSTIC

An acrostic form is one we all easily recognize and probably built as children. An acrostic poem is one in which the first letter or the first word of each line spells out a word or phrase.  Some acrostics are built using the ending letters or words instead. Start by writing your word or phrase vertically, and then build out your poetry lines – either rhymed or not around it.

Example: Two Sides (Word Acrostic)

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AE FREISLIGHE

The Ae Freislighe is an old poetic form from Ireland. It has a quatrain stanzas (4-line stanzas) of only 7 syllables per line. What makes is interesting (and somewhat frustrating) is its rhyme scheme.

Lines 1 and 3 rhyme together, but they rhyme as three syllables (xxa)

Lines 2 and 4 rhyme together as two syllables (xb)

A unique element of the form is that the final syllable of the poem should be the same rhyme as the very first syllable of the poem.

An Ae Freislighe poem can be as concise as one stanza, or scale out as far as a poet wishes.

Example: This Love’s Season

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ALOUETTE

The Alouette, created by Jan Turner, consists of two or more stanzas of 6 lines each, with the following set rules:  Meter: 5, 5, 7, 5, 5, 7 Rhyme Scheme: A, A, B, C, C, B

Example: Cannicular Days 

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ARS POETCIA

Ars Poetica, or “the art of poetry,” refers to any poem written about the art of poetry.

Example: Whispers of a Muse, All One Remembers

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ARUN

A nonce poem created by blogger GirlGriot. An Arun is a fifteen-line poem in three sets of five lines. Each set of five lines follows the same syllable structure: starting with one syllable and increasing by one syllable with each line. 1/2/3/4/5 — 3x. There are no other rhyme or structural requirements.

Example: Contented

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BREF DOUBLE

A French form the Bref Double has four stanzas – 3 quatrains (4-line stanzas) and 1 couplet (or 2-line stanza). It carries three rhymes, an A rhyme, B rhyme, and C rhyme. There is no set line length, but the lines should be consistent within each poem. The order of the rhyme varies, but the A and B rhymes must appear twice within the first 3 stanzas and once each in the couplet, while the C rhyme is the final line in each of the quatrains.

Rhymes can be as follows: xaxc xbxc xbac ba, xabc xxxc xabc ab, abxc abxc xxxc ab, xabc xaxc xbxc ab etc.

Example: Silver Lining

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CASCADE

In a Cascade a poet creates the initial stanza then takes each consecutive line from that first stanza and makes those the final lines of each stanza afterward. If the first stanza is sextet, then the complete poem will have seven stanzas. A tercet results in four stanzas and so on. Beyond that, there are no additional rules for rhyming, meter, etc.

Example: I Fear

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CHERITA

The Cherita is a form that tells a story. It is composed of three verses: a one-line verse, followed by a two-line verse and ending in a three-line verse.

Example: Twilight

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CINQUAIN

The Cinquain is a poem or stanza of five lines.

Line 1 ~ One word (a noun) name the subject of the verse.
Line 2 ~ Two words (adjectives) describing the subject.
Line 3 ~ Three words (verbs) describing the subjects actions.
Line 4 ~ Four words giving the writer’s opinion of the subject.
Line 5 ~ One word (noun) giving another name for the subject.

Example: So Cold

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CLARITY PYRAMID

A Clarity Pyramid is a poem consisting of two triplets and a single line (7 lines in all). Usually, this poem is center aligned when displayed.

The first triplet has 1, 2, and 3 syllables. The title of the poem is the one-syllable word of the first triplet, which is displayed in all capital letters. This line is followed by a two-syllable line, and then a three-syllable line, both of which clarify the definition of the poem, or are synonyms for the title.

The second triplet has 5, 6, and 7 syllables. Its design is based around a life event contained
within the triplet which helps give a poetic view or outlook on the first line (title).

The last line is 8 syllables, and is in quotations as this line contains a quote that defines the first word (title).

Example: Life, Chance, Death, Pain, Faith

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DESCORT

Descort is French for “discord”, and the form is almost more of a non-form. It requires that each stanza or verse have some similar lyrical elements; however, that they be totally different forms. Each stanza should be verse, that is, a structured portion of poetry, but not the same. They can conform to known verse structures or be nonce forms. Some descorts have even used different languages in different stanzas.

Example: Because of You

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DIAMANTE

Diamante is formed as follows:

Line 1: Noun or subject
Line 2: Two Adjectives describing the first noun/subject
Line 3: Three -ing words describing the first noun/subject
Line 4: Four words: two about the first noun/subject, two about the antonym/synonym
Line 5: Three -ing words about the antonym/synonym
Line 6: Two adjectives describing the antonym/synonym
Line 7: Antonym/synonym for the subject

As its name suggests a Diamante is centered to form a diamond shape when done.

Example: Opposites Detract

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DUO-RHYME

The Duo-Rhyme, a poetic form created by Mary L. Ports, is a 10 or 12-line poem, with the first two and last two lines having the same rhyme scheme, and the center of the poem (lines 3 – 8 /10) having their own separate monorhyme scheme.

Meter: 8 beats per line, written in iambic tetrameter (4 linear feet of iambic)

Rhyme Scheme: 10-line: a,a,b,b,b,b,b,b,a,a and 12-line: a,a,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,b,a,a

Example: Unrequited

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EMMETT

The Emmett has 2 rules:

1.The first line of the Emmett is five WORDS long. Each word of the first line becomes the first word of the following lines. So the second word in line one becomes the first word of line two, the third word becomes the first word of line three, etc.

2. To make things a little more complex the Emmett has a rhyme scheme of a,b,b,a,b.

There are no other restrictions on meter or line length.

Example: The Sun Comes Out Today

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EMOTIVE TEN

The Emotive Ten describes some form of emotion and has ten lines, the only restrictions is that it is syllable based. It starts with twelve syllables and throughout the poem working its way down to two; it should describe usually an emotion in paradox, i.e. life to death, loneliness to love, light to dark etc.

If rhyme is used it must go with the syllable count in numbers and rhyme in letters:

12A, 10B, 9A, 8B, 7C, 6D, 5C, 4D, 3E, 2E

An alternate rhyming suggestion is a/a/b/b/c/c etc. The form can also be done in reverse, still ten lines, but starting out with two syllables and ending with twelve.

Example: Pictures Taken

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FIBONACCI SPIRAL

The Fibonacci Poem, or Fib Poem for short, is a single stanza poem based on the first 7 numbers of the Fibonacci sequence 1,1,2,3,5,8,13. The first and second lines are one syllable, the third line two syllables, the fourth line three syllables and so forth following the Fibonacci sequence. It traditionally ends at seven lines (13 syllables), but some have taken it longer following the sequence.

The Fibonacci Spiral poem is a more structured poem with two stanzas. The 1st stanza has 13 lines, the 2nd stanza has 12 lines. The last line of your first stanza is repeated to become the first line of your second stanza. Repeat the syllable count to form the spiral for a total 25 lines altogether with no gap between stanzas.  If this confuses you just look below.

The syllable counts must be as follows:

stanza 1
1st line – 1 syllable
2nd line – 1 syllable
3rd line – 2 syllables
4th line -3 syllables
5th line -5 syllables
6th line -8 syllables
7th line -13 syllables
8th line -8 syllables
9th line -5 syllables
10th line – 3 syllables
11th line – 2 syllables
12th line – 1 syllable (word must be at least 4 letters)
13th line – 1 syllable
stanza 2 (remember there is no space between the two stanzas)
14th line -1 syllables (repeat 13th line)
15th line -2 syllables
16th line -3 syllables
17th line -5 syllables
18th line -8 syllables
19th line -13 syllables
20th line -8 syllables
21st line -5 syllables
22nd line – 3 syllables
23rd line – 2 syllables
24th line – 1 syllable
25th line – 1 syllable

The poem should be Centered.

Example: Those Things That Are Expected

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3 thoughts on “In-FORM-ation – My List of Poetry Forms

  1. I was just reading something else when I noticed this link and had to come and investigate. I have made an attempt or two at Lukes Octains, but thats it from this list. Now I guess I am just going to have to try some of the others out, just to satisfy my own curiosity.

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