Five Types of Poetry You Should Try

Before I really studied poetry, my own poems always focused on end line rhymes. I had no idea what meter, rhythm, closed form, and free form had to do with writing poetry.  Yeah, everyone knows William Shakespeare’s work, but do you know how hard it is to write a good Shakespearean sonnet?  Try one of these types of poetry to stretch your poetic skill.

  1. The Nonet is all about syllable count. There is no focus on rhyme schemes or meter.  Write 9 lines, the first containing 9 syllables, the second 8, the third 7, until you end at one.
  2. Shape Poetry. Write a poem in the shape of whatever you’re writing about.  For example, a poem about a bird would be shaped like a bird.  This is a great way to see how shape and white space can enhance a poem.
  3. The cinquain focuses on syllable count. Using a total of 22 syllables, the lines are split between 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables. On the fourth and longest line, the poem comes to a climax or twist, and the final line serves to bring it back down.
  4. The triolet utilizes rhyme and repetition. The 1st, 4th, and 7th lines repeat and the 2nd and 8th lines repeat, creating the form abaaabab. Only the 2nd, 5th, and 6th are unique in the poem.
  5. Free verse frees you from any constraints. Focus on where to put line breaks and see where it takes you!

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