An Introduction to Poetry / The Different Types of Poetry
A different article to usual: I go through the different types of poetry, both official and unofficial. Read on to discover more...
Poetry began a long time ago, ranging from Ancient Chinese poems to short verses from the playwright William Shakespeare. Poetry is different from conventional stories because they:
- tend to be shorter and convey meaning with fewer words
- are sometimes divided up into verses rather than paragraphs and chapters
- have a beat or rhythm, and sometimes even rhyme
- can make a pattern or shape rather than standard story rectangle paragraphs
Poems can be about anything that you want to express.
A poem can:
- tell a story or retell an existing one
- be about feelings, such as what it feels like to score a winning goal or lose a loved one
- describe a scenario or example, such as autumn leaves falling or snow falling in winter
- be about a special person or creature, or even the weather!
- try to capture a particular moment in words
The official genres of poetry are:
- Narrative poem
A long poem telling a story is called a narrative story. A ballad is also a short narrative poem with a 'refrain' at the end of each verse. A refrain is a repeated line or number of lines in a poem or song. An example of a narrative poem is 'The Highwayman' by Alfred Noyes.
A traditional Japanese poem, containing only three lines and 17 syllables, formatted in a 5-7-5 format. These poems are often about nature or culture. An example of a haiku poem is 'Basho Matsuo' by Basho, often considered the first great Haiku poet.
A sonnet has 14 lines and follows a rhyme scheme. Shakespeare is most famous for his sonnets. His sonnets contain a format of where in the first 12 lines every other line rhymes. The last two lines also rhyme with each other. Although it is not compulsory to follow this particular format, rhyming is essential. Famous examples include all of William Shakespeare's sonnets.
A limerick is a funny five-line poem. Most limericks are nonsense poems aimed only to entertain and amuse. The first, second and last lines rhyme. The third and fourth also rhyme with each other. The first and second should also follow the same rhythm, while the third and fourth do the same but are much shorter lines. Famous limerick examples can be found in 'A Book of Nonsense' by Edward Lear
- Free Verse
These poems have no rules. Maybe they do, but they ignore them anyway. They don't rhyme and all the lines are of different lengths. Maybe that's why they are called free verse. They may also be just one certain verse in a longer poem. A famous free verse can be seen in 'After the Sea-Ship' by Walt Whitman.
These are all the official poetic genres, but I consider there to be sub-branches
to poetry. These are:
- Snapshot Poems: A poem used to describe a certain environment. Mostly haiku
- Memory Poems: Poems similar to recounts. Can be sonnets, limericks, narrative etc.
- Persona Poems: Poems told from the perspective of someone else.
- Imaginative Poems: Poems with settings, characters and stories completely fictional
Poetry is a beautiful form of art many people do not appreciate. It is often full of emotion and more expressive than narrative stories, as poems are written from the poet's heart. If you're looking to write some poetry of your own, the best way to become good at poetry yourself is to read others and write from your heart, feelings and what's in your mind at the current time and we may see you take the place of the next William Shakespeare! Just remember, there are no real 'rules' to poetry,
Thanks for reading my article (even though it's not my usual). Cheers! :D
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