Category

Poetry Forms

Category

Found-Object

Found-Object poetry is a contemporary poetry form that is not only the individual act of writing, but a collaborative work between writer and reader.  Loosely based on Found-Object Art, a Found-Object Poem is a poem that is written by the poet, and then ‘left’ somewhere unexpected to be ‘found’ by the reader.  It is only when the poem is ‘found’ that it becomes a piece of art. Found-Object poems can be any form and rhyming is optional.  There is no set length, however given the constraints of space normally associated with this form, short works such as haiku, are often popular. A Found-Object poem normally has an uplifting and positive theme. Your challenge this week is to bring the magic of poetry to someone else’s day by creating a Found-Object poem.  To do this, you will write an uplifting poem, print it on paper and then leave that poem somewhere that it…

Nonet

A Nonet is a traditional form consisting of nine lines. The first line is nine syllables long. The following lines each decrease by one syllable, until the final, ninth line, which is one syllable. It can be on any subject and rhyming is optional.  You can see the form using the example poem as below: Line 1: He wades into the rhythm of life (9 syllables) Line 2: a sailor leaving childhoods shores (8 syllables) Line 3: for a siren’s silver call. (7 syllables) Line 4: Floating on melodies (6 syllables) Line 5: cresting, anchor cast (5 syllables) Line 6: into the depths (4 syllables) Line 7: of her salt (3 syllables) Line 8: covered (2 syllables) Line 9: skin. (1 syllable) For more examples of poems written using this form search the hashtag #nonetheart on Instagram, or visit Her Heart Forms here.

Renga

Renga, meaning linked poem, is a traditional Japanese poetry form from the genre of collaborative poetry. This form is written by two or more poets. Believed to be over 1000 years old renga evolved from tanka, the oldest form of Japanese poetry and consists of at least two ku or stanzas. The opening stanza of the renga, called the hokku, became the basis for the haiku form of poetry. To create a renga, one poet writes the first stanza, which is three lines long with a total of seventeen syllables, normally 5-7-5. The next poet adds the second stanza, a couplet with seven syllables per line, or 7-7. The third stanza repeats the structure of the first and the fourth repeats the second, alternating in this pattern until the poem’s end. You can see the syllable pattern in the example: Stanza 1 Line 1: view from my window (5 syllables)…

Triolet

A Triolet is a traditional poetry form that consists of one stanza that is eight lines long.  It has the rhyme scheme ABaAabAB, in which the first, fourth and seventh lines are the same and the second and eighth line are the same. In the example, we show you how this breaks down, and show you the rhyme scheme: Line 1 (A): Take me back to those yesterdays. Line 2 (B): When love, and life and I was new Line 3 (a): and full of easy, girl-child ways. Line 4 (A): Take me back to those yesterdays Line 5 (a): before carefree lost to lean-hipped sway Line 6 (b): before I gave me, stained-red to you. Line 7 (A): Take me back to those yesterdays, Line 8 (B): when love and life and I was new. This is a challenging form to write which encourages the poet to search for clarity and…

Limerick

Limericks are usually five-line poems which follow a rhyme scheme of AABBA (for those who don’t know, that means the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme with one another, and the third and fourth lines rhyme). On top of that, limericks are almost always either funny or crude (often both), although to be fair, humor is in the ear of the listener, so don’t take this guideline too seriously. Here’s an example for you with the rhyming pattern identified: Once I found fish in the sky (A) Who bubbled as they floated by, (A) But the second I blinked (B) They swam down the sink (B) With garbage disposal on ‘high. (A) Very often, the third and fourth lines of a limerick are shorter than the others, and they’re commonly written in anapestic meter (check out my next article to learn what that means), but as with all things artistic,…

Lanturne

The Lanturne (also known as the Lanterne and Lantern) is a five line poem originating from Japan. It has the syllable pattern 1,2,3,4,1. Once the poem is written, the words are centered on the line to create the shape of a Japanese lantern. Thus giving the form it’s name. Our example  is written by community member, Molly Murray ǀ @the_atelier_project. For more examples of poems written using this form search the hashtag #LanturneHeart on Instagram, or visit our community here.

Rondelet

The Rondelet is a brief French form with a strict structure and rhyming pattern. It consists of one stanza of seven lines. This is known as a single septet. The lines consist of two rhymes and one refrain, in the pattern: AbAabbA. The capital letters (A) are the refrains (a repeated line), the lower case (a) rhymes with (A) and the lower case (b) lines all rhyme with each other. The refrain (repeated line) has four syllables (tetrasyllabic or dimeter) and the other lines are twice as long with eight syllables (octasyllabic or tetrameter). In simple terms the form is as follows: Line 1: 4 syllables – the refrain Line 2: 8 syllables Line 3: repeat line 1 Line 4: 8 syllables – rhymes with line 1 Line 5: 8 syllables – rhymes with line 2 Line 6: 8 syllables – rhymes with lines 2 and 5 Line 7: repeat line…

Collaborative

In simple terms, a Collaborative poem is a poem that is constructed by two or more people. The poem can take any poetic form and can be approached in person (in close proximity), or over the phone, via chat or email (at a distance). There are several types of Collaborative poem but the most popular are the following: Chain: Poets write a single line which is then sent on to another poet who writes a single line, and so on. Reflective: Poets choose a topic and write about it from opposing perspectives, resulting in at least two stanzas.  An example being writing from a feminine and then a masculine perspective. Tapestry: Poets write their own version of a poem on a given topic and then attempt to weave the poem into one cohesive work. Normally the poem will have a total of nine lines. Switch: Poems switch authorship at a…

Spoken Word

Spoken Word is an oral art form that requires the poet/performer to read poetry aloud.  This catchall phrase includes the live performance of hip-hop and jazz poetry, poetry slams, performance poetry, traditional poetry readings and can include comedy routines and prose monologues. What elevates this form to a work of art is that a Spoken Word poem, not only requires a well constructed piece of writing, but also requires the poet to consider word interplay, intonation and inflection, and use of voice in it’s delivery.  It is also common for Spoken Word to be accompanied by music, which is again, considered part of the performance itself and must be coordinated with the recitation. Like all poetry, Spoken Word is a vehicle for engagement.  In this case the poet/performer uses word and voice to evoke an emotional response, and create a connection between the poem and the listener. Spoken Word has been a fundamental…

Tetractys

A Tetractys is a contemporary poetry form invented by English Poet, Ray Stebbings. It consists of at least 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (for a total of 20 syllables) and can also be reversed and written 10, 4, 3, 2, 1. A Tetractys can have more than one verse but each subsequent verse must be an inverse of the previous.  So a double Tetractys would be written: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1 and a triple Tetractys would be written: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1 and so on. In order to be correct a Tetractys must express a complete thought within it’s 20 syllables, either profound or comic, witty or wise. Ray Stebbing has been quoted as saying that his work was inspired by Euclid, the mathematician of classical times, who considered the number series…