In-FORM-ation – My List of Poetry Forms

TABLEAU

The Tableau, a poetry form created by Emily Romano in October of 2008, consists of one or more verses, each having six lines. Each line should have five beats. There is no set rhyme scheme, although rhyme may be present. The title should contain the word tableau.

One dictionary states the word tableau means picture or representation; the poem should reflect this. A picture should come to mind as the poem is read.

Example: Empty Tableau

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TANKA / SUPER TANKA

The Tanka is the name of an ancient form of Japanese poetry. Tanka are 31-syllable poems that have been the most popular form of poetry in Japan for at least 1300 years. In Japan, the Tanka is usually written as a straight line of characters, but in English and other Western languages, it is usually divided into five lines, with a syllable count of 5-7-5-7-7.

The key to the Super Tanka form is that it is two Tanka side-by-side. Each can be read independently, but must work together as a whole.

Example: A Flush of Realease

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TERZA RIMA

Terza Rima is rhyming poetry written in tercets – that is three-line stanzas. So far, so straightforward, except that in Terza Rima:

• The first and third lines of each tercet rhyme.
• It is usual to write English Terza Rima in iambic pentameter.
• The first and third lines of each subsequent stanza rhyme with the second line from the stanza before, so the rhyme scheme is aba bcb cdc and so on.
• You need at least three stanzas to produce the musical effect of the chain-rhyming.

Example: Over

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TERZA RIMA SONNET

Sonnet of fourteen lines, normally of iambic pentameter, with a Terza Rima rhyme scheme of ABA BCB CDC DED EE.

Example: Over

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TETRACTYS

The Tetractys form is similar to the Cinquain, in that it is made up of five lines with a regimented syllable count. However, the syllable count for a Tetractys verse is 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (total of 20). Tetractys can be written with more than one verse, but must follow suit with an inverted syllable count. Tetractys can also be reversed and written 10, 4, 3, 2, 1.

For a more complex form there is the Double Tetractys, which is similar but has ten lines and is structured as shown below.

Line 1 – 1 syllables
Line 2 – 2 syllables
Line 3 – 3 syllables
Line 4 – 4 syllables
Line 5 – 10 syllables
Line 6 – 10 syllables
Line 7 – 4 syllables
Line 8 – 3 syllables
Line 9 – 2 syllables
Line 10 – 1 syllable

Example: Ro’s Rant

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THAN BAUK

The Than-Bauk is a three line “climbing rhyme” poem of Burmese origin. Conventionally a witty saying or epigram, it’s even shorter than a haiku, but a lot more structured. Each Than-Bauk is three lines of four syllables each with the rhyme on the fourth, third and second syllables of each line respectively.

O. O. O. a.
O. O. a. O.
O
. a. O. O.

Than-Bauks can be “chained” together to form a longer poem where the last syllable of the third line starts the rhyme of the next…

O. O. O. a.
O. O. a. O.
O. a. O. b.
O. O. b. O.
O. b. O. c.
O. O. c. O.
O. c. O. etc.

or you can “staircase” them…

O. O. O. a.
O. O. a. O.
O. a. O. b.
O. O. O.b.
O. O. b. O.
O. b. O. c.O. O. O. c. 
O. O. c. O.
O. c. O. etc.

Example: For While She Weeps

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TRIREME

The poem’s framework is a variation on the sonnet form – a fourteen-line form in (roughly) iambic pentameter.

It consists of four tercets (with rhyme scheme ABC-ABC-ABC-ABC), followed by a heroic couplet (with rhyme taken from one of the above tercet lines, AA, or BB, or CC).
independently, or the work can be read as a whole.

Example: Lion / Lamb

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TRITINA

The tritina is a reduced version of the sestina written in iambic pentameter, which uses 3 repeated end-words (i.e. the final word of each line is repeated as the final word of each line in subsequent stanzas, just in a different order) and 3 three-line stanzas with a concluding one-line coda that must contain all three repeated words in order of their original appearance. The pattern/order of the repeated end-words is:

a
b
c

c
a
b

b
c
a

a–b–c

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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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