Styles of Poetry

Poetry in Pink Flowers

There are a lot of different styles of poetry in the world. In celebration of Poetry month here are some short descriptions of just a handful of poetry styles. Maybe you’ll try your hand at writing one.

Centro Poem – The word means patchwork in Latin and refers to a poem placed together from lines taken from other poems, in other words, a collage poem. From the beginning, poets have quoted other poets, stolen phrases and lines and reworked them into their own poems.

Some poets make small changes in the lines they appropriate for a cento, while others adopt the lines without amendment. Usually a cento will use no more than one line from each source poem. The sources may be poems of a single poet or many poets, or even many different languages.

Ghazal Poem – a ghazal is a short lyric poem composed of a series of about 5 to 15 couplets, each of which stands independently on its own as a poetic thought, but linked through a rhyme scheme established in both lines of the first couplet and continued in the second line of each following pair of lines. The meter is not strictly determined, but the lines of the couplets must be of equal length. Themes usually are connected to romantic love and longing, and the closing signature couplet often includes the poet’s name or an allusion to it.

Haiku – a haiku is an unrhymed, syllabic form adopted from the Japanese. The poem is made up of three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Because it is so brief, a haiku is necessarily imagistic, concrete and pithy, capturing a single moment in a very few words.

Since the form has been brought into English from a language written in characters, in which haiku appears on a single line, many poets writing haiku in English are flexible about the syllable and line counts, focusing more on the brevity, condensed form and Zen attitude of haiku.

Limerick – The limerick, which gets its name from a town in Ireland, is a five-line joke of a poem.

The standard form of a limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth having eight or nine syllables and rhyming with one another, and the third and fourth having five or six and rhyming separately. 

The first line traditionally introduces a person and a place, with the place appearing at the end of the first line and establishing the rhyme scheme for the second and fifth lines. In early limericks, the last line was often essentially a repeat of the first line, although this is no longer customary.

Shadorma – The Shadorma originated in Spain and is made up of a stanza of six lines with no set rhyme scheme. It is a syllabic poem with meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5. It can have many stanzas, as long as each follows the meter.

Triolet – The triolet is a very brief, tightly rhymed poem that takes part of its structure from the repetition of entire lines. The triolet is composed in eight lines.

1st – line A

2nd – line B

3rd – line a (rhymes with A)

4th – line A (entire first line repeated)

5th – line a (rhymes with A)

6th – line b (rhymes with B)

7th – line A (entire 1st line repeated)

8th – line B (entire 2nd line repeated)

Triolets were originally written in French of the Middle Ages.

I hope you enjoyed this fun and informative run down of a few poetry styles.

As always, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurkmarshall

Until next time.

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