Free Verse

Free verse is an open form of poetry, which in its modern form arose through the French vers libre form. It does not use consistent metre patterns, rhyme, or any musical pattern. The modern or contemporary free verse poem requires no fixed stanza length and no particular rhyme scheme. Today, some poets and critics reject the term ‘free verse’ and prefer to speak of ‘open form’ poetry or ‘mixed form’ poetry.


Haiku can be traced back as far as the 9th century and is a type of short form poetry originally from Japan. Traditionally, it is a poem with a 5, 7, 5 pattern, with three short lines that do not rhyme. It contains a kireji and a kigo.
Kireji: cutting word or verbal exclamations. They punctuate and emphasise the end of a haiku section.
Kigo: Seasonal reference

Today, modern haiku does not follow the traditional elements.

They focus on a specific, local object that suggests a more universal theme.



The sonnet is a popular classical form that has compelled poets for centuries. It is a brief fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter. The 14 lines are divided into groups called stanzas and follow a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure.

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Blank Verse

Blank verse is unrhyming verse in iambic pentameter lines. This means that the rhythm is biased towards a pattern in which an unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed one (iambic) and that each normal line has ten syllables, five of them are stressed (pentameter). It reasserts itself in the two lines that follow. To distinguish blank verse from free verse, begin by reading the poem aloud. Count the syllables in each line and mark the syllables that have a stronger emphasis. Look for an overall pattern in the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables.

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A limerick is a form of verse, usually humorous and often with rude overtones. It has five lines and follows a strict rhyme scheme of AABBA, in which the first, second and fifth line rhyme, while the third and fourth lines are shorter and share a different rhyme.

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The tanka is a thirty-one-syllable poem, traditionally written in a single unbroken line. They all have five lines and each line follows a pattern: the first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, the third line has five syllables, the fourth line has seven syllables, and the fifth line has seven syllables.

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Cinquain is an unrhymed, five-line poetic form defined by the number of syllables in each line. The first line has two syllables, the second has four, the third six, the fourth eight, and the fifth two (2-4-6-8-2). They are typically written using iambs.

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A sestina is a fixed form in poetry that has six stanzas of six lines each followed by a three-line stanza; each line ends with one of six words in a standard repetition. These six words are chosen by the poet, but must be repeated in a certain order for the poem to qualify as a sestina.

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The villanelle is a fixed-form poem made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain, and also follows a specific rhyme scheme using only two different sounds. A tercet is a stanza with only three lines, and a quatrain is a stanza with four lines. Each tercet of a villanelle’s rhyme scheme contains an ABA rhyme scheme, except for the final stanza, which follows an ABAA rhyme scheme. The first line of the first stanza is a refrain line that is repeated throughout the poem. A quatrain is a stanza in a poem that has exactly four lines. Some quatrains comprise entire poems, while others are part of a larger structure. Quatrains usually use some form of rhyme scheme, especially the following forms: AAAA, AABB, ABAB, and ABBA.

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An acrostic poem is a poem where certain letters in each line spell out a word, phrase or sentence. Typically, the first letters of each line are used to spell the message, but they can appear anywhere. The poem does not have to rhyme or have a specific meter, but feel free to try writing one that has both features.

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