Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kinds of Poems

Lyric Poetry
Poetry that explores the writer’s intimate emotions and sensations, meant to create a single intense impression through vivid language.

Narrative Poetry
Poetry that tells a story.

Blank Verse
Poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Shakespeare used this from time to time.

Free Verse
Poetry that has an irregular rhythmic beat instead of metrical patterns. Walt Whitman used this.

A Ballad
Known as popular, traditional, or folk ballads, these songs arose in medieval times, mostly 15th century, from the traditions of common people. They were passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth, so it’s impossible to trace the original versions or authors. One of the first written collections of these ballads was Reliques of Ancient English Poetry by Bishop Thomas Percey in 1765. Ballads usually tell a story of heartbreak, disaster, disaster, and adventure.

A Dirge
A song or poem expressing sorrow, usually written for a funeral.

An Elegy
Originally meaning the same as a dirge or an epitaph, an elegy now refers to any serious meditative poem. In music an elegy is a sad, somber song.

An Epic
A long narrative poem describing the great feats of a hero. Greek epics include the Iliad and the Odyssy. Epics can be poetic versions of myths and legends.

An Epitaph
a short poem meant to be carved on a tombstone, describing the deceased and his/her life.

An Ode
An Ode is an elaborately structured poem praising or glorifying an event, a person, or something which captures the poet's interest and serves as inspiration. The first odes come from ancient Greece. There are three typical forms of odes: the Pindaric, Horatian, and irregular. The first English poet to write an ode was Sir Edmond Spenser.
A Pastoral
A poem describing the life and manners of shepherds.

A Sonnet
Sonnets are 14-line poems (one stanza) written in iambic pentameter (each line contains 10 syllables, 5 of which are stressed). The word comes from the Italian sonetto, meaning “little song”. Sonnets became famous throughout Europe with Petrarch, who wrote 366 poems to the woman he loved but could never marry – a theme endlessly copied by poets thereafter.
            There are two main types of sonnets: Petrarchan, and Shakespearean. Petrarchan sonnets consist of an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The rhyme scheme for the octave is usually abbaabba, or sometimes abababab. The sestet varies, sometimes cdecde or cdcdcd. The shift from the octave to the sestet usually signifies a dramatic change, which is called the volta (meaning to turn or change).
            The Shakespearean or English sonnet consists of three groups of alternating rhymes plus a final couplet. Four-line groups are called quatrains. Sonnets with quatrains follow this scheme: abab dede efef gg.
            A third type of sonnet is called Spenserian: abab bcbc cdcd ee.

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