Poetry Studio

DEFINITIONS OF POETRY TYPES

Acrostic - a poem in which the subject is spelled vertically and each line begins with a word that starts with the designated letter.
The following books are collections of acrostic poems around a theme:

Belle, Jennifer.  Animal Stackers.  Illus. by David McPhail.  Hyperion, 2005
Harley, Avis.  African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways.  Photos by Deborah Noyes.
Candlewick, 2009.
Hummon, David.  Animal Acrostics.  Illus. by Michael Maydak.  Dawn Publ., 1999
Powell, Consie.  Amazing Apples.  Albert Whitman, 2003
Schnur, Stephen.  Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic.  Illus. by Leslie Evans.  Clarion, 1997.
Also Spring (1999), Summer (2001), and Winter (2002)

Cinquain - a five-line poem of 22 syllables following this pattern of syllables: 2, 4, 6, 8, 2

Clerihew - a four-line poem about a person, whose name appears in the first line. The rhyme scheme is aabb.
The following title is a collection of clerihews and expands upon the definition in the introduction.

Raczka, Bob.  Presidential Misadventures: Poems That Poke Fun at the Man in Charge.
Illus. by Dan E. Burr.  Roaring Brook, 2015

Concrete poem - words are written in a shape associated with the subject of the poem
The poems in the following books are all examples of concrete poetry:

Burg, Brad.  Outside the Lines: Poetry at Play.  Illus. by Rebecca Gibbon.  Putnam, 2002
Cleary, Brian P.  Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems.  Illus. by Andy Rowland.
Millbrook, 2014
Franco, Betsy.  A Curious Collection of Cats.  Illus. by Andy Rowland.  Millbrook, 2014
Franco, Betsy.  A Dazzling Display of Dogs.  Illus. by Michael Wertz.  Tricycle Press, 2011
Franco, Betsy.  A Spectacular Selection of Sea Critters.  Illus. by Michael Wertz.
Millbrook, 2015
Graham, Joan Blashfield.  Flicker Flash.  Illus. by Nancy Davis.  Houghton Mifflin, 1999
Graham, Joan Blashfield.  Splish Splash.  Illus. by Steve Scott.  Sandpiper, 2001
Janeczko, Paul (Sel.).  A Poke in the I.  Illus. by Chris Raschka.  Candlewick, 2001
Lewis, J. Patrick.  Doodle Dandies: Poems That Take Shape.  Illus. by Lisa Desimini.
Atheneum, 1998
Raczka, Bob.  Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems.  Roaring Brook, 2016
Roemer, Heidi.  Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems.  Illus. by Hideko Takahashi.
Henry Holt, 2004
Sidman, Joyce.  Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry.  Illus. by Michelle Berg.
Houghton Mifflin, 2006

Couplet - two lines of verse that rhyme
The following book is a collection of humorous couplets:

Singer, Marilyn.  Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom.
Illus. by Lee Wildish.  Knopf, 2010

Diamante - a poem of seven lines in the following pattern:

line 1: noun – one word that is the subject of the poem (the opposite of the last line in the poem)
line 2: two adjectives that describe the subject
line 3: three words ending in “ing” or “ed” that describe the subject
line 4: two words that are about the subject in the first line
   two words that are about the subject in the last line
line 5: three words ending in “ing” or “ed” that describe the subject of the last line
line 6: two adjectives that describe the subject of the last line
line 7: noun - one word that is the opposite of the word in the first line

Found poem - taken from a piece of writing that was not originally written as poetry, such as a diary entry or newspaper article, and arranged on the page as a poem. The following collection further defines found poetry and includes examples from many different sources:

Heard, Georgia.  The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems.
Illus. by Antoine Guilloppé.  Roaring Brook, 2012

Free verse - lines of poetry written without a rhyme scheme

Haiku - unrhymed Japanese poem traditionally about some aspect of nature. The form is typically three lines with the following syllable pattern: 5-7-5.
The following books are collections of haiku:

Caswell, Deanna.  Guess Who Haiku.  Illus. by Bob Shea.  Abrams Appleseed, 2016
Caswell, Deanna.  Boo Haiku!  Illus. by Bob Shea.  Abrams Appleseed, 2016
Cleary, Brian P.  If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems.
Illus. by Andy Rowland.  Millbrook, 2014
Clements, Andrew.  Dogku.  Illus. by Tim Bowers.  Atheneum, 2007
Farrar, Sid.  The Year Comes Round: Haiku through the Seasons.
Illus. by Ilse Plume.  Albert Whitman, 2012
Grimes, Nikki.  A Pocketful of Poems.  Illus. by Javaka Steptoe.  Clarion, 2001  (contains a
free verse poem and a haiku on every double-paged spread)
Issa.  Today and Today.  Illus. by G. Brian Karas.  Scholastic, 2007
Lewis, J. Patrick.  Black Swan White Crow.  Illus. by Chrisopher Manson.  Atheneum, 1995
Lin, Grace & McKneally, Ranida T.  Our Food: A Healthy Serving of Science and Poems.
Illus. by Grace Zong.  Charlesbridge, 2016
Mannis, Celeste D.  One Leaf Rides the Wind.  Illus. by Susan K. Hartung.  Viking, 2002
Mora, Pat.  Yum! MmMm! Que rico!: Americas' Sproutings.  Illus. by Rafael López.
Lee & Low, 2007
Muth, Jon J.  Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons.  Scholastic, 2014
Prelutsky, Jack.  If Not for the Cat.  Illus. by Ted Rand.  Greenwillow, 2004
Raczka, Bob.  Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole.
Illus. by Chuck Groenink.  Carolrhoda, 2014
Raczka, Bob.  Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys.  Illus. by Peter H. Reynolds.
Houghton Mifflin, 2010.  (see http://www.hmhbooks.com/guyku/index.html for writing activities for students)
Rosen, Michael J.  The Cuckoo’s Haiku: And Other Birding Poems.
Illus. by Stan Fellows.  Candlewick, 2009
Rosen, Michael.  The Hound Dog's Haiku: And Other Poems for Dog Lovers.
Illus. by Mary Azarian.  Candlewick, 2011
Rosen, Michael J.  The Maine Coon's Haiku: And Other Poems for Cat Lovers.
Illus. by Lee White.  Candlewick, 2015
Rosen, Michael J.  The Horse's Haiku.  Illus. by Stan Fellows.  Candlewick, 2018
Rosenberg, Sydell.  H Is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z.
Illus. by Sawsan Chalabi.  Penny Candy Books, 2018
Snyder, Betsy E.  I Haiku You.  Random House, 2012.  Gr. K-3
Walker, Sally M.  Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up.  Illus. by William Grill.
Candlewick, 2018
Wardlaw, Lee.  Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku.  Illus. by Eugene Yelchin.
Henry Holt, 2011.  Also: Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku (2015)
Wright, Richard.  Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku.  Photos by Nina Crews.  Millbrook, 2018

Limerick - a generally humorous, five-line verse in which lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme, and lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each other
The following book offers suggestions for writing limericks, with many examples:

Cleary, Brian P.  Something Sure Smells Around Here: Limericks.  Illus. by Andy Rowland. Millbrook, 2015

Books of limericks tend to have older copyright dates. Individual limericks can usually be found in anthologies of poetry.
These two websites are helpful:

How to Write a Limerick, from Bruce Lansky’s “Giggle Poetry”
Detailed instructions for young people about how to write a limerick
Edward Lear’s Nonsense Works
Texts of hundreds of Lear’s limericks from several different works

List Poem - a free verse poem that describes or lists attributes of a particular topic.
The following books are collections of list poems:

Cleary, Brian P.  Underneath My Bed: List Poems.  Illus. by Richard Watson.  Millbrook, 2016
Heard, Georgia (Ed.).  Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems.  Roaring Brook, 2009

Persona poem - (also called a mask poem) a poem written from the point of view of the subject of the poem
The following books are collections of persona poems:

Gottfried, Maya.  Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary.
Illus. by Robert Rahway Zakanitch.  Knopf, 2010
Janeczko, Paul.  Dirty Laundry Pile.  Illus. by Melissa Sweet.  HarperCollins, 2001
MacLachlan, Patricia & Charest, Emily MacLachlan.  Once I Ate a Pie.
Illus. by Katy Schneider.  HarperCollins, 2006
MacLachlan, Patricia & Charest, Emily MacLachlan.  I Didn't Do It.
Illus. by Katy Schneider.  HarperCollins, 2010
MacLachlan, Patricia & Charest, Emily MacLachlan.  Cat Talk.
Illus. by Barry Moser.  HarperCollins, 2013
Schertle, Alice.  Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes.  Illus. by Petra Mathers.  Harcourt, 2009

Poem of address - written as though speaking to a person or object

Poems for two voices - not a "type" of poetry, but a form that students enjoy reading aloud, with a structure that allows for individual and joint reading of lines. (One student reads the lines on the left; another student reads the lines on the right; they read the lines in the middle in unison.) It may be adapted for additional voices.
The following books offer examples:

Fleischman, Paul.  I Am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices.  Illus. by Ken Nutt.
HarperCollins, 1985
Fleischman, Paul.  Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices.  Illus. by Eric Beddows.
HarperCollins, 1988
Fleischman, Paul.  Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices.  Illus. by Beppe Giacobbe.
Candlewick, 2000
Franco, Betsy.  Messing around on the Monkey Bars and Other School Poems for Two
Voices.  Illus. by Jessie Hartland.  Candlewick, 2009
Gerber, Carole.  Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More!: Poems for Two Voices.
Illus. by Eugene Yelchin.  Henry Holt, 2013

Quatrain - a four-line poem usually with a rhyme scheme of abab or aabb
The following is a book of quatrains:

Cleary, Brian P.  I Saw an Invisible Lion Today.  Illus. by Richard Watson.  Millbrook, 2016

Senryu - poem of three lines (a haiku) about human nature with the following syllable pattern: 5-7-5

Tanka - a form of unrhymed Japanese poetry with three lines followed by two lines in this pattern:

line 1 - 5 syllables
line 2 - 7 syllables
line 3 - 5 syllables

line 4 - 7 syllables
line 5 - 7 syllables

The following books are written in tanka form:

Coombs, Kate.  Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems.  Sounds True, 2017
Engle, Margarita.  Orangutanka.  Illus. by Renée Kurilla.  Henry Holt, 2015
Grimes, Nikki.  Garvey's Choice.  Boyds Mills/WordSong, 2016
Medina, Tony.  Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy.  Illus. by 13 different artists.
Penny Candy Books, 2018
Weston, Robert Paul.  Sakura's Cherry Blossoms.  Illus. by Misa Saburi. Tundra, 2018

Tercet - a three-line poem that rhymes

For definitions of more types of poetry and sample poems of each, see:

Graham, Joan Bransfield. The Poem That Will Not End: Fun with Poetic Forms and Voices.
Illus. by Kyrsten Brooker.  Two Lions, 2014
Harley, Avis. Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry. Wordsong, 2000.
Janeczko, Paul B. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. Candlewick, 2005
Young, Judy. R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet. Illus. by Victor Juhasz.
Sleeping Bear Press, 2006

Page last updated 09/10/18

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