In-FORM-ation – My List of Poetry Forms

Forms P – T


The Pantoum consists of a series of quatrains rhyming ABAB in which the second and fourth lines of a quatrain recur as the first and third lines in the succeeding quatrain; each quatrain introduces a new second rhyme as BCBC, CDCD. The first line of the series recurs as the last line of the closing quatrain, and third line of the poem recurs as the second line of the closing quatrain, rhyming ZAZA.

The design is simple:

Line 1
Line 2
Line 3
Line 4

Line 5 (repeat of line 2)
Line 6
Line 7 (repeat of line 4)
Line 8

Continue with as many stanzas as you wish, but the ending stanza then repeats the second and fourth lines of the previous stanza (as its first and third lines), and also repeats the third line of the first stanza, as its second line, and the first line of the first stanza as its fourth. So the first line of the poem is also the last.

Last stanza:

Line 2 of previous stanza
Line 3 of first stanza
Line 4 of previous stanza
Line 1 of first stanza

Example: Awaken

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The Pathya Vat has four lines of four syllables each, with the second and third lines rhyming. Longer poems are made by chaining them together, with the last line of each rhyming with the second and third lines of the next.

Example: The Storyteller

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“Pleiades” named after the a star cluster in Taurus constellation, also called as “Seven Sisters” in Greek Mythology was invented in 1999 by Craig Tigerman. It consists of seven lines, each line starting with the same letter as the title. The title is a single word.

Later on Hortensia Anderson restricted the length of each line to six syllables. Hence, this form can be defined as a seven line poem with each line beginning with the same letter as the title and having six syllables in each line. The title of the poem must be of one word only.

Example: Luna

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The Puente

In a Puente (Spanish for bridge), the first and third stanzas must have the same number of lines, but there is no set number of lines, as long as the two stanzas match. They can be rhymed or unrhymed. The bridge line is one single line connecting the first and third stanzas. The last line of the first stanza and the bridge line are a couplet, and the bridge line and the first line of the third stanza are a couplet. The bridge line then often connects stanzas written from different points of view or about different ideas.

It sounds more complicated than it is, but it really is not. Two stanzas with a middle line that connects them.

Example: Could Not Conceive Such

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The Pushkin sonnet has fourteen lines, with no set meter. The rhyme scheme is divided into one of the two following stanza formats:

abab ccdd effe gg or abab ccdd eff egg

Example: In Search of Lucidity

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The Quadrille combines two essential elements to have fun. First it must be based on words. In this case a single word that has to be included in the body of the text. The second is that it is limited to 44 words exactly including the given word, not including the title.

Example: Oh Cap’n My Cap’n

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The Quatern is yet another French form. It consists of four stanzas of four lines, or sixteen total lines. The Quatern is a syllabic form, meaning that there are a required number of syllables per line. In this case, there are eight (8) syllables per line (or tetrameter, to those who want to get all technical), but it does NOT have to be iambic!!

The other trait of the Quatern is that there is a repeating refrain, similar to a kyrielle. In this case, the refrain is repeated one line lower in the poem in each stanza until in the fourth stanza it’s the fourth line, like below…

Line 1 (refrain)
Line 2
Line 3
Line 4

Line 5
Line 1 again (Line 6)
Line 7
Line 8

Line 9
Line 10
Line 1 again (Line 11)
Line 12

Line 13
Line 14
Line 15
Line 1 again (Line 16)

Example: Big Montana Sky

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The Raccontino is an unlimited number of couplets, rhyming xb xb xb xb xb, etc. The syllable count is set in the first line and followed throughout the poem.

Example: Urban Haze

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The pattern of the Rime Enchainée is very simple – the last word of each line rhymes with the first word of the following line, and the last word of the last line rhymes with the first word of the first line, bringing the form and the rhyme chain back full circle.

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The Rime Royal or Rhyme Royal stanza consists of seven lines, usually in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is ABABBCC.

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A Rondeau is a French form, 15 lines long, consisting of three stanzas: a quintet (5 lines), a quatrain (4 lines), and a sestet (6 lines), with a rhyme scheme as follows: aabba aabR aabbaR. Lines 9 and 15 are short – a refrain (R) consisting of a phrase taken from line one. The other lines are longer (but all of the same metrical length).

Example: Forgive me

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Rubaiyat (Interlocking and Normal)

A Rubaiyat is defined as a four line stanza written in iambic meter. Lines one, two, and four must rhyme, so you have a rhyme scheme of a/a/b/a. There is no limit to the number of rubaiyat stanzas you can string together when you write a rubaiyat poem

Normal Rubaiyat:

This Persian form of poetry is a series of rhymed quatrains. In each quatrain, all lines rhyme except the third, leading to this pattern:

a – 2nd line rhymes with the first.
a – 4th line rhymes with the first and second

b – 2nd line rhymes with first
b – 4th line rhymes first and second

and so on….

An “Interlocking Rubáiyát” is :

Rubáiyát where the subsequent stanza rhymes its 1st, 2nd, and 4th lines with the sound at the end of the 3rd line in the stanza (Rubá’íyah) before it. In this form, the 3rd line of the final stanza is also rhymed with the 3 rhymed lines in the first stanza.

This leads to a form like this example with three stanzas; note that the Rubáiyát” is allowed an unlimited number of stanzas, so extend the pattern as needed:

Rhyme scheme:

a – 2nd line rhymes with the first.
a – 4th line rhymes with the first and second.

b – 1st line rhymes with the third in the previous stanza.
b – 2nd line rhymes with the first.
b – 4th line rhymes with the first and second.

c – 1st line rhymes with the third in the previous stanza.
c – 2nd line rhymes with the first.
a – 3rd line rhymes with the first in the opening stanza.
c – 4th line rhymes with the first and second.

In other words, the 3rd (third) line of each stanza sets the rhyme for the next stanza no matter how many stanzas your rubaiyat may contain will the final stanza having the rhyme scheme of z/z/a/z….linking back to the 1st (first) stanza.

The lines are accentual-syllabic, usually tetrameters or pentameters…. and again, iambic.

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Serpentine verse has only one requirement – the first word of each line must be the exact same word as the last word of each line.

Example: Carol’s Day / Carol’s Night

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The Sestina a poem consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy, where the words ending the lines of the first stanza are repeated in a different order at the end of lines in each of the subsequent five stanzas and, two to a line, in the middle and at the end of the three lines in the closing envoy. The patterns of word-repetitions are as follows:

1 2 3 4 5 6
6 1 5 2 4 3
3 6 4 1 2 5
5 3 2 6 1 4
4 5 1 3 6 2
2 4 6 5 3 1
(6 2) (1 4) (5 3)

There is no set meter or rhyme scheme although traditionally most were written in iambic pentameter. The closing envoy also has several variations some of which are:

(2 5)(4 3)(6 1),
(1 2)(3 4)(5 6) or
(1 4)(2 5)(3 6).

Example: Thou Hath Wrought This

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A Jeffreys Sonnet was created by Scott J. Alcorn. It is isosyllabic (only 8 syllable per line), 2 sestets with a cross rhymed couplet (the cross rhyme is in the 2nd to 4th syllable in each of the two lines of the couplet). Also there is a cross rhyme in the first line of the 2nd sestet (between the 2nd to 4th syllable), tying the 1st sestet to the 2nd. So the rhyme scheme would be: aabccb, (b)ddeffe, (e)g (g)e. The letters in ( ) are the cross rhymes.

Example: To Know That Kind

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The Sonnetina Uno is one of several forms in the Decastich family, which are any 10-lined poems.
The rules for this form are really quite simple..

1. A poem of ten (10) lines.
2. Iambic pentameter (five metrical feet-ten syllables.
3. Blank verse (no rhyming)

Example: I Offer

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The Strambotto consists of eight strict hendecasyllable lines (11 syllables). This type of stanza is known as rispetto or ottava rima. There are three types and these are, Strambotto Toscano, Strambotto Siciliano and the Strambotto Romagnuolo. It is an early form of Italian poetry often set to music.

Rhyme schemes are:

Strambotto Toscano – abababcc
Strambotto Siciliano – abababab
Strambotto Romagnuolo – ababccdd

Example: ‘Till Next Time”

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Sorted-book, or Spine poetry is, in essence a poem found or created from book titles from the spines of books. A photograph of the books is a required part of the form itself.

Example: Sadomasochism

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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.

So? What do you think?

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