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Types of Poetry
a unit within a poem
Rationale: A stanza is a unit within a larger poem, consisting of at least two lines of poetry with a space differentiating it from the next unit below. It’s equivalent in prose would be a paragraph, so typically each unit incorporates a specific thought or point.
a pair of lines in a poem
Rationale: A couplet is a pair of lines in poetry, which usually rhyme and have the same meter though they do not necessarily have to. An example of a simple rhyming couplet would be the commonly used expression, “rain, rain, go away/ come again another day.”
a poem in which the first letter, syllable, or word of each line spells out a word or message
Rationale: An acrostic poem is one in which the first letter, syllable, or word of each line or paragraph spells out a word or message when read from top to bottom. It can also be used as a method of memory retrieval. For example, “ROY G BIV” is often used to remember the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet
a four-line stanza within a poem
Rationale: A quatrain is typically a stanza consisting of four lines, though it could also simply be a four-line poem on its own. It can incorporate a variety of rhyme schemes, including aaaa, abab, and aabb.
a narrative set to music in which stanzas have an abcb rhyme scheme
Rationale: A ballad is a form of poetry that is characteristic of the medieval period. It is often a narrative set to music, divided into quatrains in which the second and fourth lines rhyme (known as an abcb rhyme scheme). However, there is often considerable variation in meter and rhyme scheme from one ballad to another.
poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter
Rationale: Blank verse is a type of poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. It is often thought to be the most common and influential form of poetry in England since the 1500’s. Many of Shakespeare’s plays were written in this style.
a poetic form that does not use meter or rhyme
Rationale: Because free verse does not use rhyme, meter, or any pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, it flows much in the same way as natural speech. However, in many cases it may still remain written in such a way that it is obvious it is poetry rather than prose. For example, the poet may choose to divide each phrase into lines or stanzas.
a type of poetry traditionally set to music
Rationale: Lyric poetry is a type of poetry that is traditionally set to music or to a beat. They have specific meters and rhyme schemes. It is an umbrella term representing multiple types of poetry, including sonnets, ballads, odes, and villanelles.
a 14-line poem with a strict rhyme scheme
Rationale: A sonnet is a poem set to a strict rhyme scheme and meter. The English Sonnet, which Shakespeare is famous for, is 14 lines long, written in iambic pentameter, and follows a strict rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg. There are many other variations, such as the Italian sonnet, which follows an assortment of rhyme schemes and structures.
a Japanese nature poem
Rationale: A haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry, consisting of 3 lines with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line. Typically, the haiku is written about nature.
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Great English Poets
Great American Poets
Free EMT Career Class
Elements of Poetry
Types of Poetry
Poet Geoffrey Chaucer
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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