Poetry is an art. Just like an artist has various colours on his palette, poetry has its. There are several types of poetry that help a poet express his emotions.

Sonnet

A traditional sonnet consists of 14 lines – divided into a sestet (6 lines) and octet (8 lines). There are 3 types of a sonnet – Petrarchan, Spenserian, and Shakespearean.

The most recognizable is Sonnet 18, which begins “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate…”

sonnet

Haiku

The Japanese Haiku consists of 3 lines of five, seven and five syllables. It is well known for its rhythmic pronunciation and syllables. It is a seasonal art that only few master. It is of Asian Origin.

“In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus –
A lovely sunset.”

-Matsou Basho

haiku

Elegy

It is a poem written to lament over death. They are longer than traditional poems. They originated in Ancient Greece and were originally sung. ‘Adonais’ was an elegy written by Percy Bysshe Shelley lamenting over John Keats’ death.

elegy

Ballad

It is a long poem that consists of a narrative depicted through quatrains (4 lines). It was originally written to sung and to be performed with music. It is rhythmic. ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a famous example.

ballad

Epic

An epic is something like a ballad but rather a lengthy one. It narrates incidents of great bravery and valour of, often a hero or a mythological character. Like elegy, epic is derives from Ancient Greece. Some famous epics are Paradise Lost by John Milton, Edmund Spenser’s Fairie Queen and of course, Beowulf.

epic

Limerick

It is a five line poem with a rhyme scheme of AABBA. It is witty and serves best for nursery rhymes. The poem allegedly got its name from the town custom of shouting “Will you come up to Limerick?” after a performance of nonsense poetry at social gatherings.

limerick

Free Verse

It is the most modern type of poetry. It follows no rhyme scheme, metre, syllables, or line formation. It is abstract. The poet can shape it in whatever way he wants. There are no restrictions. ‘After the Sea-Ship’ by Walt Whitman is a famous example.

free verse

Concrete

It is the type of poetry in which the essence lies in not the rhythm or metre but the visual form. It originated in Germany and Brazil, consecutively. It remains a modern style of poetry. If a poem is about the sun, the visual form will be in shape of the sun.

concrete

Acrostic

In this type of poem, the 1st letter of the poem of each line forms a word. This word can carry the theme and essence of the poem. It can be a name or a season or anything you’d like it to be.

acrostic