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Poetic Forms

Here are our articles on poetic forms both classic and new, native to English poetry and imported, with definitions and examples of the various kinds of formal poems, from sonnets, sestinas and haiku to found poems, Fibonacci poems and “the Pollock.”
  1. Cento links (7)
  2. Ghazal links (7)
  3. Haiku, Senryu, Tanka links (29)
  4. Limerick links (11)
  5. Pantoum links (13)
  6. Sestina links (10)
  7. Sonnet links (12)
  8. Terza rima links (8)
  9. Villanelle links (15)

Glossary of Poetic Forms
Traditional poetic forms briefly defined, with links to examples of each form.

Introducing The Rothko
Bob Holman introduces his new ekphrastic poem form, the Rothko: “Call ‘em haikus. Naw, call ‘em Rothkos, I thought, and make ‘em rectangles like the paintings. And get those colors in there while you’re at it...”

Fibonacci Poems
All you need to know about Fibonacci poems, a new math-based poetic form that is proliferating on the Internet, by Georgia Luna Smith Faust.

Introducing the Pollock
Bob Holman introduces another poetic form inspired by a painter—in this case, Jackson Pollock, whose oft-repeated line describing his state of being in action painting has been molded by poet and art critic John Yau into a newly invented kind of sonnet, the Pollock.

SemiCento, A “Stitched Together” Poem
A cento is a 100-line collage poem. When Bob Holman was commissioned to write the occasional verse for the 50th anniversary of the Frankfurt Buchmesse, he gathered poets from all cultures and times to create a SemiCento, 50 lines that say Happy Birthday, What Is a Poem?

Cento
Cento defined, in our glossary of poetic forms, with links to examples of poems written in cento form.

Rondeau
Rondeau defined, in our glossary of poetic forms, with links to examples of poems written in rondeau form.

Rondel/Roundel
Rondel defined, in our glossary of poetic forms, distinguished from the roundel invented by Algernon Charles Swinburne, with links to examples of poems written in rondel and roundel form.

Triolet
The triolet defined, in our glossary of poetic forms.

Abecedarian Poem
Abecedarian poem defined, in our glossary of poetic forms.

Acrostic Poem
Acrostic poem defined, in our glossary of poetic forms.

Terza Rima
Terza rima defined, in our glossary of poetic forms.

Ghazal
The ghazal defined, in our glossary of poetic forms.

Haiku
Haiku defined, in our glossary of poetic forms

Sestina
The sestina defined, in our glossary of poetic forms

Villanelle
The villanelle defined, in our glossary of poetic forms

Limerick
The limerick defined, in our glossary of poetic forms

Pantoum
The pantoum defined, in our glossary of poetic forms

Sonnet
The sonnet defined, in our glossary of poetic forms

Dante & the Response Poem
We’re all for Formalism, especially when you make up the forms... David Shapiro & Frank Lima create another kind of collaboration, the Response Poem.

Mathemetrics: Sparrow’s Spree
Having conquered the worm of Dirty Words in his Bad Poetry Curriculum, Sparrow, former Presidential candidate and full-time Poet Laureate of Comic Relief, has invented a new poetic form: Mathemetrics.

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