AP Lit on Poetry #1 – Types of Poems

Narrative
A narrative poem tells a story. It can be all of a story or part of a story. Ex. The Odyssey

Lyric
A poem that deals with emotions, feelings, thoughts. This is a general category. Poems of all kinds can contain lyrical elements.

Aubade
A poem about the separation of lovers. A very emotional moment or experience. Traditionally, the separation is at dawn.

Ballad
A song, or a poem with song-like qualities. Ballads will often times have refrains lines that repeat throughout the poem.

Dramatic Monologue
A poem that has a definite speaker who speaks to a particular person. The listener does not respond, but the listener can influence or have an effect on the speaker.

Elegy
A poem about death, mourning, or somber reflection. It is oftentimes about a particular person who has died. Another term for an elegy is a dirge.

Ode
A poem that celebrates. It can be a poem of praise for a person, an object, or an event.

Pastoral
Originally, a celebration of the simple, rustic life of shepherds. It has evolved to refer to any rural theme, idealizing the uncomplicated country life. Also can be referred to as idyllic.

Sestina
A poem of six six-line stanzas (sestets) with an ending tecet (three line stanza). There is an intricate repitition using the ending words in each set, changing the order in each sestet.

Sonnet
A fourteen line poem

English Sonnet
3 Quatrains and an ending couplet. Rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef, gg.

Italian Sonnet
An octave or octet (8 lines) and a sestet (6 lines). A common rhyme scheme is abba, abba, cde,cde.

Terza Rima
A series of three-line stanzas (tercets) with a defined, “interlocking” rhyme scheme (aba, bcb, cdc, etc.). Most are written in iambic pentameter but, whatever the meter, the established meter remains the same throughout the poem. Shorter poems written in this style can end in a coupet.

Villanelle
A 19 line poem with 5 three line stanzas and an ending quatrain. The rhyme scheme is most often aba, aba, aba, aba, aba, abaa. Also contains a refrain, the repitition of the first and third lines of the first stanza.