Form Fitting 101

Since Walt Whitman came along, free verse has taken over. Was poetry liberated? Many fine pratictioners of free verse might argue yes. Then again, some others mistakenly believe it's easier. Perhaps this is one of the reasons form poetry is undergoing a bit of a revival. Or perhaps they just understand that sometimes contstraint can breed creativity.

There are so many different forms out there, and many more being created every day. Can you recognize these forms based on some of their major characteristics?

Created by: John Mutford of The Book Mine Set
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  1. Has a rhyme scheme: a-b-a-b / c-d-c-d / e-f-e-f / g-g and usually written in iambic pentameter.
  2. An eight line poem with rhyme scheme ABaAabAB and written in iambic pentameter. Lines 1, 4 and 7 are identical, as are 2 and 8. Note that the initial and closing couplets are therefore identical, as well.
  3. A poem with a syllable count per line of 1/1/2/3/5/8
  4. A 19 line poem (five triplets and a closing quatrain), with an alternating aba aba aba aba aba abaa rhyme scheme and two refrains (the first on lines 1, 6, 12, and 18 and the second on lines 3, 9, 15 and 19).
  5. A five line poem with three metrical feet in the 1st, 2nd and 5th lines and two metrical feet in the 3rd and 4th. It has a rhyme scheme of aabba.
  6. A poem which uses four lines from another poem as a 'texte', providing the concluding lines for each of its stanzas. Rhyme schemes and so forth vary but a popular approach seems to be 10 line (subsequent) stanzas, with end rhymes at lines 6, 9 and 10 in each.
  7. A 39 line poem (6 sextets followed by a tercet). The end words of each stanza are repeated in a specific but alternating order: 123456, 615243, 364125, 532614, 451362, 246531, and (62)(14)(53) as middle and end words in the tercet.
  8. The beginning letter or word of each line can also be read vertically to reveal a different, but usually related, message.
  9. A poem composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next. This pattern continues for any number of stanzas, except for the final stanza, which differs in the repeating pattern. The first and third lines of the last stanza are the second and fourth of the penultimate; the first line of the poem is the last line of the final stanza, and the third line of the first stanza is the second of the final.
  10. Prose followed by a haiku.

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