Well, here we are—at the point where you’ve decided I will not talk about the REAL elements of poetry: forms, genre and techniques. I’m not a fan of suggesting that poets lock themselves into specific formulas. However, I do see the value of practicing these forms (within their accepted genres) to increase an individual’s personal writing voice and form. Here are brief definitions of some of the forms utilized today:


  • Ghazal: common in poetry from Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Persian, Turkish and Urdu cultures this form has from 5-15 rhyming couplets that share a refrain at the end of the second line. Each line is identical in meter.


  • Haiku: a very popular form of unrhymed verse containing three sections in a structured 5-7-5 pattern. This form originated in Japanese poetry and often contains a “cutting or seasoned word” at the end of the poem.
  • Ode: This form comes from ancient Greek culture, having three parts: a strophe, an antistrophe and an epode. The strophe and antistrophe often offer conflicting perspectives and the epode looks at both intending to offer a clearer perspective. Odes were often sung as creative minds attempted to influence peoples of their time.
  • Shi: the main type of classical Chinese poetry with variations of folk song, old style, and modern style each with rhyming elements. They are most often considered folk ballad poetry and delivered in song.
  • Sonnet: This is the most commonly known form of poetry in modern times. It is a “set-rhyme” containing exactly fourteen lines with a logical structure. The first four lines introduce the topic, the second four elaborates and the third puts forth a perceived problem (usually a couplet or two lines) giving a twist to the logic-lines. The very distinct rhyme pattern is: a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-gg.
  • Tanka: widely used in today’s Japanese poetry, this form is unrhymed with five sections totaling 31 “units” structured in a 5-7-5-7-7 pattern with a shift in tone and subject between the first three lines and the last two.
  • Villanelle: This form of poetry could almost be called an American/English form because of its popularity with poets such as Dylan Thomas. It contains nineteen lines made up of five triplets with a closing quatrain. There are two refrains (attractive as a musical form), concluding with two refrains.



It is my hope that reading these short definitions will not discourage “the poet within” you. If you’re just entering the world of poetry, remember that these forms can be bent a little by the author to be useful in multiple genres that look for the unusual. These genres include: Elegy, Epic and Dramatic poetry; Light verse and Lyric verse; Narrative, Fable and Satirical poetry; Prose and Speculative poetry.

Each of these forms and genres will also contain the basic elements of writing skills such as: rhythm, meter, metrical patters, alliteration, rhyme and rhyming schemes—and—the visual form of lines and stanzas. It is up to the poet/author to intrigue reader/editors and leave them demanding MORE of your work. Let your light shine and poetry fans will snap up all your published works! ⚓︎

RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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