The Elements of Poetry

lyric
Subjective, reflective poetry with regular rhyme scheme and meter which reveals poet’s thoughts and feelings to create a single, unique impression.

Ex.Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach”William Blake, “The Lamb,” “The Tiger”Emily Dickinson, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”Langston Hughes, “Dream Deferred”Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”Walt Whitman, “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”

narrative
Non-dramatic, objective verse with regular rhyme scheme and meter which relates a story or narrative.Ex.

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Kubla Khan”T.S. Eliot, “Journey of the Magi”Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Wreck of the Deutschland”Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses”

sonnet
A rigid 14-line verse form, with variable structure and rhyme scheme according to type:A.

Shakespearian (English) – three quatrains and concluding couplet in iambic pentameterm rhyming abab cdcd efef gg or abba cddc effe gg. The Spenserian sonnet is a specialized form with linking rhyme abab bcbc cdcd ee-Robert Lowell, “Salem”-William Shakespeare, “Shall I compar Thee?”B. Petrarchian (Italian) – an octave and sestet, between which a break in thought occurs. The traditional rhyme scheme is abba abba cde cde (or -cdcdcd.)-John Milton, “On His Blindness”-John Donne, “Death, Be Not Proud”

ode
Elaborate lyric verse which deals seriously with a dignified theme.

-John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”-Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ode to the West Wind”William Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”

blank verse
Unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter-Robert Frost, “Birches”-John Milton, “Paradise Lost”-Theodore Roethke, “I Knew a Woman”-William Shakespeare, Macbeth-Robert Frost, “Mending Wall”

free verse
Unrhymed lines without regular rhythm.-Walt Whitman, “The Last Invocation”-William Carlos Willaims, “Rain,” “The Dance”-Richard Wilbur, “Juggler”

epic
A long, dignified narrative poem which gives the account of a hero imporant to his nation or race.-Lord Byron, “Don Juan”-John Milton, “Paradise Lost”Homer, “The Illiad,” “The Odyssey”

dramatic monologue
A lyric poem in which the speaker addresses himself to persons around him; his speech deals with a dramatic moment in his life and manifests his character.-Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess”-T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J.

Alfred Prufrock”

elegy
A poem of lament, meditating on the death of an individual.-W.H. Auden, “In Memory of W.B.

Yeats”-John Milton, “Lycidas”-Theodore Roethke, “Elegy for Jane”-Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “In Memoriam A.H.H.”

ballad
Simple, narrative verse which tells a story to be sung or recited: the folk ballad is anonymously handed down, while the literary ballad has a single author.

-John Keats, “La Belle Dame sans Merci”-Edward Arlington Robinson, “Richard Cory”-William Butler Yeats, “The Fiddler of Dooney”

idyll
Lyric poetry describing the life of the shepherd in pastoral, bucolic, idealistic terms.-Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Idylls of the King”-William Wordsworth, “The Solitary Reaper”

villanelle
French verse form, strictly calculated to appear simple and spontaneous; five tercets and a final quatrain, rhyming aba aba aba aba aba abaa. Lines 1, 6, 12, 18 and 2, 9, 15, 19 are refrain.-Theodore Roethke, “The Walking”-Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”

light verse
General category of poetry written to entertain, such as lyric poetry, epigrams, and limericks. It can also have a serious side as in parody or satire.-Vachel Lindsay, “The Congo”-Lewis Carroll, “Jabberwocky”

haiku
Japanese verse in three lines of five, seven, and five syllables, often depicting a delicate image.

-Matsua Basko,The lightening flashes!And slashing through the darkness,A night-heron’s screech.

limerick
Humorous nonsense-verse in five anapestic lines rhyming aabba. a-lines being trimetry and b-lines dimeter.-Edward LearThere was an old man at the CapeWho made himself garments of crape When Asked “Will they tear?” He replied “Here and there,But they keep such a beautiful shape!”

meter
Poetry’s rhythm, or its pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.

Measured in units of feet.