"Abecedarian poems are now most commonly used as mnemonic devices and word games for children, such as those written by Dr. Seuss and Edward Gorey."

"As one of the world’s oldest poetic techniques, anaphora is used in much of the world’s religious and devotional poetry, including numerous Biblical Psalms."

"Their subject matter dealt with religious themes, love, tragedy, domestic crimes, and sometimes even political propaganda."

"One of the principal forms of music and poetry in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century France."

Blues Poem
"A blues poem typically takes on themes such as struggle, despair, and sex."

The Bop
"Not unlike the Shakespearean sonnet in trajectory, the Bop is a form of poetic argument consisting of three stanzas."

"From the Latin word for 'patchwork,' the cento is a poetic form made up of lines from poems by other poets.

Chance Operations
"A chance operation can be almost anything from throwing darts and rolling dice, to the ancient Chinese divination method, I-Ching, and even sophisticated computer programs."

"Examples of cinquains can be found in many European languages, and the origin of the form dates back to medieval French poetry."

Dramatic Monologue
"The poet speaks through an assumed voice—a character, a fictional identity, or a persona."

"Modern ekphrastic poems have generally shrugged off antiquity's obsession with elaborate description, and instead have tried to interpret, inhabit, confront, and speak to their subjects."

"The traditional elegy mirrors three stages of loss. First, there is a lament, then praise for the idealized dead, and finally consolation and solace."

"Elements that typically distinguish epics include superhuman deeds, fabulous adventures, highly stylized language, and a blending of lyrical and dramatic traditions."

"Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker."

"Epistolary poems—from the Latin 'epistula' for 'letter'—are, quite literally, poems that read as letters."

Found Poem
"The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems."

"Traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions, ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians."

"A journey composed of a prose poem and ending with a meaningful murmur of sorts: a haiku."

"Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression."


"A popular form in children’s verse, the limerick is often comical, nonsensical, and sometimes even lewd."

"Originally accompanied by music and dance, and later reserved by the Romantic poets to convey their strongest sentiments."

"Although poetry and mathematics often seem to be incompatible areas of study, OULIPO seeks to connect them."

"The pantoum originated in Malaysia in the fifteenth-century as a short folk poem, typically made up of two rhyming couplets that were recited or sung."

Prose Poem
"Just as black humor straddles the fine line between comedy and tragedy, so the prose poem plants one foot in prose, the other in poetry, both heels resting precariously on banana peels."

"The pastoral tradition refers to a lineage of creative works that idealize rural life and landscapes."

"Renga began over seven hundred years ago in Japan to encourage the collaborative composition of poems."

"The rondeau began as a lyric form in thirteenth-century France, popular among medieval court poets and musicians."

"The sapphic dates back to ancient Greece and is named for the poet Sappho, who left behind many poem fragments written in an unmistakable meter."

"The thirty-nine-line form is attributed to Arnaut Daniel, the Provencal troubadour of the twelfth century."

"From the Italian sonetto, which means 'a little sound or song,' the sonnet is a popular classical form that has compelled poets for centuries."

"One of the oldest Japanese forms, tanka originated in the seventh century, and quickly became the preferred verse form in the Japanese Imperial Court."

Terza Rima
"Invented by the Italian poet Dante Alighiere in the late thirteenth century to structure his three-part epic poem, The Divine Comedy."

"The earliest triolets were devotionals written by Patrick Carey, a seventeenth-century Benedictine monk."

"Strange as it may seem for a poem with such a rigid rhyme scheme, the villanelle did not start off as a fixed form."