One of the things we love most about poetry is the freedom it gives a writer!
Poets can choose to honor the rules created by poets before, bend the rules or break every single one and create something brand new! Whatever your writing style, there are countless types of poems to draw inspiration from. From classic odes to “ekphrastic” poems, we’ve got a broad list of types of poems and their rules ahead! Follow the rules created by your favorite poets or create a style all your own! The choice is yours!
30+ Types of Poems
|A poem created with words chosen for their sound or aural quality instead of being chosen based on meaning alone.
|The Country of the Blind by C.S. Lewis
|A poem that uses letters of others words to form a word itself.
The lines are often read horizontally while the chosen word is spelled out vertically.
|Hymne VII by Sir John Davies
|The first letter of each line or stanza spells out the alphabet.
|Alphabet of Love by Nora Nader
|A five-line form with 31 syllables total (written in 2-4-6-8-2 syllabic form).
|The Warning by Adelaide Crapsey
|A poem dedicated to welcoming or lamenting the arrival of dawn.
|The Rising Sun by John Donne
|A poem formed from the “blacking out” or unwanted words in a pre-written text (newspapers, letters, articles, etc.) to create a poem out of the remaining, unmarked words.
|Poetry created entirely from lines from poems by other famous poets.
|Ode: Salute to the New York School by Peter Gizzi
|Poetry in which the words form shapes or images that match the poem’s message (also called shape poetry).
|Easter Wings by George Herbert
|Poetry written in response to a certain work of art. Ekphrastic poems must include vivid detail of the subject.
|Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats
|Usually a melancholic poem lamenting the death of a person while also expressing adoration for them.
|O, Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman
|Poetry without strict meter or rhyme.
|Harlem by Langston Hughes
|An Arabic form of poetry that has five or more couplets and contains a rhyme or repeated refrain.
|Ghazal of the Better-Unbegan by Heather McHugh
|Often a short, catchy phrase, gnomic poetry is designed to share moral or philosophic advice in a witty way.
|Gnomic Verses by Robert Creely
|A form of poetry originating from Japan. Haikus are unrhymed poems with only 17 syllables. They must have only three lines containing 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively.
|A World of Dew by Kobayashi Issa
|A French form containing eight lines with 8 or 10 syllables in each line. Typical rhyme schemes are ababbcbc and abbaacac.
|Dreaming by Dorian Petersen Potter
|A Japanese style of poetry in which the poem has four lines, each containing 12 syllables. There is a planned pause between the first seven and final four syllables in each line.
|A Thousand Songs by Lubna Yusuf
|A poetic form invented by Eugene B. Redmond in 1995. A seven-line poem with seven words per line celebrating African-American culture and life.
|To Polaris by Saeed Jones
|A traditional Afghan poem that is often sung. Landays must include at least one couplet, nine syllables in the first line, 13 syllables in the second line and tend to reveal harsh truths regarding war, love, grief, or a homeland. These poems were originally created as a form of expression for Afghan women facing oppression and war.
|I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan
|A five-line poem of only one stanza written in the AABBA rhyme scheme. These usually tell a short, pithy description or tale.
|A Man Hired by John Smith and Co: by Mark Twain
|A poem consisting of an inventory of people, things, ideas, or places. These can be listed as full sentences or just words.
|Sick by Shel Silverstein
|A nine-line poem following the ABACADABA rhyme scheme. It is said that a fast-typing poet accidentally misspelled “abracadabra” and noticed a new, creative rhyme scheme.
|Bewitched by Divena Collins
|A form of poetry dedicated to marking a specific occasion.
|The Birds Begun at Four O’Clock by Emily Dickinson
|A celebratory poem narrating a respect, praise, love or adoration for a person, place, thing or idea.
|To Autumn by John Keats
|A retraction of a previous statement or view in a previous poem through a new poem, ode or song.
|Retraction by Chaucer
|A poem including four-line stanzas with the second and fourth lines of each quatrain repeated as the first and third lines of the next stanza.
|Parents’ Pantoum by Caroline Kizer
|Poetry in which the stanzas are free of line breaks.
|Citizen: An American Lyrics by Claudia Rankine
|A poem with 14 lines of eight or ten syllables separated into three stanzas–two quatrains and a sextet. There are also repeated refrains in the rhyme scheme. If A and B are the refrains, this will have a scheme of ABba abAB abbaAB.
|Rondel of Merciless Beautyby Geoffrey Chaucer
|Written in iambic pentameter, sonnets are 14-line poems written in one of several rhyme schemes.
|Sonnet 24 by William Shakespeare
|Triolets are eight-line poems with only two rhymes, in which the first line is later repeated as the fourth and seventh lines and the second line is repeated as the eight.
|How Great My Grief by Thomas Hardy
|A 19-line poem including five three-line stanzas with ABA rhyme schemes and one four-line stanza in a ABAA scheme.
|Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas
|A Japanese five-line poem with aa 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic line structure. Wakas also must have breaks or stops after only the second, fourth and fifth lines.
|As I Dozed by Ono no Komachi
|Created by Laura Lamarca, these poems consist of three four-line stanzas following a abcb rhyme scheme. The syllable count throughout is 9-7-9-9.
|Sing Me A Song by Laura Lamarca