• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Introducing Dokkio, a new service from the creators of PBworks. Find and manage the files you've stored in Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, Slack, and more. Try it for free today.


Poetic Forms and Genres

Page history last edited by gretchen 10 years, 10 months ago


The Sonnet

14 lines, iambic pentameter (easy to remember as 10 syllables per line)


English Sonnet (Shakespearean)

  • Three four line quatrains, and one 2 line couplet
  • Typically, the couplet reverses, alters, or challenges the meaning of the preceding 12 lines in an ironic twist.
  • The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.


Italian Sonnet (Petrarchan)

  • One eight line octet and one 6 line sestet.
  • Typically, the octet poses a dilemma that is answered in the sestet.
  • The rhyme schme is ABBAABBA CDECDE.


Spenserian Sonnet

  • A variant on the Shakespearean sonnet, with four quatrains with interlocked rhyme scheme.
  • The rhyme scheme is ABAB BCBC CDCD EE.


The Villanelle

  • Nineteen lines, 5 three line stanzas followed by one four line stanza.
  • Usually tetrameter (4 beats) or pentameter (5 beats).
  • Alternating end rhymes patterned aba, aba, aba, aba, abaa, although not all villanelles rhyme.
  • Lines 1,6,12, and 18 are the same.
  • Lines 3, 9,15, and 19 are the same.
  • Usually nostalgic in tone.


Poetic Genres

  • Epic: a long serious narrative poem concerning a heroic figure or group of heroes (Beowulf).
  • Lyric: poems written in subjectively rich voice, often emotional. Sound quality is emphasized.
  • Ode: a formal lyric poem of exalted emotion celebrating someone or something.
  • Elegy: a poetic lament for the dead or missing.
  • Prose Poem: form of free verse that lacks the formal shape of poetry.
  • Narrative: a poem that tells a story.
  • Ballad: a story told in verse, without much detail or setting. The primary emphasis is action.
  • Haiku: a short poem with seventeen syllables, usually written in three lines with the following syllable pattern (5,7,5).
  • Cinquain: a five-line poem with two syllables in the first line, four in the second, six in the third, eight in the fourth, and two in the fifth.
  • Concrete Poetry: a picture poem, in which the visual shape of the poem contributes to its meaning.



  • xxxx
  • xxxx

Additional Resources

  • xxx
  • xxx


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.