Poetry: Forms and Themes

Aubade
poem/song welcoming arrival of dawn, originated in medieval France

Ballad
narrative song passed down orally

Clerihew
a humorous form in which the first line is a person’s name and has a rhyme scheme of aa bb.

Villanelle
French, 5 3-line stanzas and quatrain, about courtly love

Ode
formal lyric poem addressing or celebrating person, place, thing, or idea

Elegy
mournful poem written in memory of someone who has died, often ends with consolation

Epigram
Brief, witty poem with no form of pattern; has irony, satire, or paradox

English sonnet
Shakesperian sonnet, follows iambic pentameter

Petrarchan sonnet
Italian, 17 lines

Limerick
5 lines, witty or humerous

Haiku
Japanese, 17 syllables, themes of nature

Picture Poem
open form, lines broken so poem makes picture of subject

Didactic poetry
poems teaching moral or ethical lessons

Allegory
hidden meanings

Carpe Diem
Latin term for, “seize the day”

Sentimentatlity
evoking emotions in the reader

Satire
making fun of a problem