Poetic Forms

Being a list of poetic forms. Teachers and students may find this list helpful, but I am primarily keeping it for my own research notes.

Couplet

A stanza consisting of two lines of poetry with similar meter and rhyme. Rhyme scheme is therefore AA. Syllable count and specific meter don’t matter, as long as both lines are similar in length and rhythm. I have seen references to using multiple couplets to form a single longer stanza.

Haiku

Three lines of poetry in which syllable count matters. The classical Japanese form is three lines, following a five/seven/five syllable count. More modern interpretations accept any number of lines and organization, so long as the total syllable count for the poem is exactly seventeen. Poems translated from Japanese may have a different count entirely, due to linguistic differences.

It is also important that a haiku encapsulate a moment in time. It is a focused form. Highly symbolic and concerned with strong imagery.

Quatrain

A stanza of poetry consisting of four lines. Classically, these lines have alternating end rhyme and meter, such that the traditional quatrain follows an ABAB or ABCB rhyme scheme.