I’m in the middle of putting together my list of poetic forms to cover in the 2015 issues of Writer’s Digest magazine, and it prompted me to take a look at what I’ve already covered on this blog over the years. As the title of this post suggests, I’ve covered at least 50 forms.
Be sure to check out each form. It might even make a good year-long challenge to write one form each week of the year.
Here’s my list of 50 poetic forms:
(Note: Click on the name of each form to read the full description in the original posts.)
- Abstract (or Sound) Poetry. Abstract was a term used by Dame Edith Sitwell.
- Acrostic. A form for hidden messages.
- Alphabet Poetry. Perfect back-to-school poetry.
- Anagrammatic Poetry. More fun with letters.
- The Blitz. 50-liner invented by Robert Keim.
- The Bop. Three stanzas and three refrains, developed by Afaa Michael Weaver.
- Bref Double. French quatorzain.
- Cascade. Variable length form invented by Udit Bhatia.
- Chant. If it works once, run it into the ground.
- Cinquain. Popular five-liner.
- Concrete Poems. Shapely poetry.
- Elegy. Song of sorrow or mourning.
- Epitaphs. Or tombstone poetics.
Have you tried a WD Poetic Form Challenge?
Every month or so, Poetic Asides hosts a WD Poetic Form Challenge–a free poetry challenge in which poets try their hand at a specific poetic form. The current challenge is for the madrigal (click here for the guidelines), but if that deadline has passed, poets can always check the Poetic Asides home page for the most recent challenge.
- The Fib. Fun form from Gregory K. Pincus.
- Found Poetry. Finders keepers, right?
- Ghazal. Couplets and a refrain.
- Golden Shovel. Terrance Hayes-invented, Gwendolyn Brooks-inspired.
- Gwawdodyn. Welsh poetic form.
- Haibun. Japanese form popularized by Matsuo Basho.
- Haiku. Popular Japanese form.
- Hay(na)ku. Eileen Tabios form with 3 lines, 6 words.
- Kyrielle. Adjustable French form.
- Lai. Nine-liner from the French.
- Limerick. 5 lines and naughty rhymes.
- List Poem. Poetry at the grocery store.
- Luc Bat. Vietnamese “6-8” form.
- Lune. Robert Kelly invention, also known as American haiku.
- Madrigal. Learn both the Italian and English versions.
- Monotetra. Quatrain madness developed by Michael Walker.
- Nonet. Nine-line countdown poem.
- Ode. Praise poetry!
Publish Your Poetry!
Learn how to get your poetry published with the latest (and greatest) edition of Poet’s Market. The 2015 Poet’s Market is filled with articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry, in addition to poet interviews and original poetry by contemporary poets.
Plus, the book is filled with hundreds of listings for poetry book publishers, chapbook publishers, magazines, journals, contests, grants, conferences, and more!
- Palindrome (or Mirror Poetry). Reflective poetic form.
- Pantoum. The repetitive form from Malay.
- Paradelle. Silly and/or psycho form from Billy Collins.
- Prose. Just when you thought poetry was defined by line breaks.
- Qasida. Guest post by Ren Powell.
- Quatern. French 4×4 form.
- Rispetto. Italian poetic form.
- Rondeau. 15 lines, 3 stanzas, and a lot of rhymes.
- Rondel. 13 lines in 3 stanzas.
- The Roundabout. Form from Sara Diane Doyle and David Edwards.
- Sestina. The form poets either love or hate.
- Shadorma. Spanish 6-liner.
- Sijo. Korean poetic form.
- Somonka. Japanese collaborative form.
- Sonnet. Shakespeare’s 14-line fave.
- Tanka. Kinda like a haiku plus a couplet.
- Triolet. 8-line French form.
- Triversen. William Carlos Williams invention: six tercets.
- Villanelle. Five tercets and a quatrain.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.
A former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, Robert has been a featured poet at events across the country and is married to poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets.
Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.