20 Different Forms of Poem – Poetry Glossary

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” -George Sand

Throughout the years, many different types of poetry have been created and many still are emerging, therefore it is unlikely that they all have been documented. In this post I will strive to name and define, as many types of poem as possible, creating a bank of poetry terms for everyone to use. Thank you for taking your time to read my blog.

  • Acrostic Poetry:   Poetry in which, the first, last or another letter on each line, creates a word or phrase. Acrostics may also appear in psalms and certain texts.


  • Ballad: A ballad is a quatrain (four line stanza), with a rhyming pattern arranged A B A B. On top of this, ballads are usually narrative poems.


  • Blank Verse: Blank verse is a form of poetry where no rhyme is present, however there is iambic pentameter.


Iambic Pentameter is a line of verse with five metrical feet (a stressed syllable followed by one or two unstressed syllables), each consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable, for example Two households, both alike in dignity. -Definition (Google)

  • Cinquain: Cinquain is a form of poem with a five line stanza. Latterly, the term cinquain has come to cover 5 line symbolic verse poetry, demonstrated below.


The Shadows –


Concealing, Consuming.

Swallowing me whole

Creature of the night,



  • Diamante: A 7 line poem which takes on the form of a diamond.                                                 Similar to the cinquain, demonstrated above, the fifth line is missed and two more verb and adjectival phrase lines are injected. The synonym for the subject then comes after this.


  • Epic: An epic is a narrative poem, which tells the story of heroic deeds or actions.


  • Epigram Poem: An epigram is a short poem, usually consisting of 4 or 5 lines, which expresses an idea in a witty or amusing fashion. For example:


“I can resist everything except temptation” – Oscar Wilde


  • Found Poem: A poem created by taking information, text and passages from other sources and editing it, therefore making it poetic.


  • Horatian Ode: A Horatian Ode is a poem in which, a devotion is payed to a person, object or thing. The poem may have a sense of meter and follows the rhyming pattern    abab cdecde.


  • Kenning: A series of complex metaphors, used to describe a single subject or word (a circumlocution). For example:








  • Lai: A lai is a lyrical poem, organised in octosyllabic couplets (lines of verse of 8 syllables which rhyme). The poem is often romantic and nature and was traditionally sung by Medieval minstrels.


  • Limerick:A traditionally comical poem, which follows the rhyming structure aabba. For example:


There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’

-Edward Lear


  • Memoriam stanza:A quatrain written in the style of iambic pentameter which follows the rhyming system abba. The style was first used by Alfred Tennyson.


  • Pastoral Poem: A poem reflecting on rural lifestyle. In literature, authors use a number of techniques to make the complex life seem a simple one.


  • Petrarchan: A 14 line sonnet which employs iambic pentameter for the first octave  and is followed by  normal rhyme (the sestet). The rhyme scheme goes as follows: abbaabba  cddcee or cdecde


  • Quatrain: A stanza consisting of 4 lines. In many poems, lines two and four rhyme whilst being the same length.


Ours and Their’s:

Our sweet-safe county haven,

Their wary; East-End dwell.

Our dormant peaceful streets,

Their active, buzzing hell…


  • Rondeau: A poem with ten or twelve lines, with only two rhymes collectively.  The opening words are also used as the refrain. For example, In Flanders’ Fields is an example of a rondeau.


  • Sestina: Sestina is a form of poem which contains, six line stanzas, followed by a three line envoi (conclusion). Although Sestinas did not originally rhyme, so do.


  • Tanka: Extremely similar to a haiku, a tanka employs a 5 7 5 7 7 syllable pattern. In addition to a normal haiku, it may contain a number of different elements such as metaphor and personification. Rhyme is rarely present in a tanka.


The dead of Autumn

Walking among the fallen,

Crunching, dry bodies.

Their resting place on the ground,

A solemn future for them.