Identifying a poem

Identifying a poem

A Lesson by Stormie Sky

You will learn to figure out what type of poem a poem is.



An important method of analyzing a poem is to look at the stanza structure or style of a poem. Generally  speaking, structure has to do with the overall organization of lines and/or the conventional patterns of sound. Again, many modern poems may not have any identifiable structure ( i.e. they are free verse), so don't panic if you can't find it.

Stanzas: stanzas are a series of lines grouped together and separated by an empty line from other stanzas. They are the equivalent of a paragraph in an essay. One way to identify a stanza is to count the number of lines.

- couplet (2 lines)
- tercet (3 lines)
- quatrain (4 lines)
- cinquain (5 lines)
- sestet (6 lines)

A poem often has a specific pattern of stanza lines,rhyme scheme and/or rhyme, and many types of poems can be identified by their particular patterns:

Haiku: It has an unrhymed verse form having three lines (a tercet) and usually 5,7,5 syllables, respectively.

Limerick: It has a very structured poem, usually humorous & composed of five lines (a cinquain), in an aabba rhyming pattern; beat must be anapestic (weak, weak, strong) with 3 feet in lines 1, 2, & 5 and 2 feet in lines 3 & 4.

Sonnet: It is a lyric poem (see below) consisting of 14 lines. In English, generally the two basic kinds of sonnets are the Italian or Petrarchan sonnet and the Shakespearean or Elizabethan sonnet. The Italian/Petrarchan sonnet is named after Petrarch, an Italian Renaissance poet. The Petrarchan sonnet consists of an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The Shakespearean sonnet consists of three quatrains (four lines each) and a concluding couplet (two lines). The Petrarchan sonnet tends to divide the thought into two parts (argument and conclusion); the Shakespearean, into four.

To practice this you can write a poem that is a Haiku, Limerick, or Sonnet. If you have any questions just comment and I will answer your question.


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Posted 5 Years Ago

attempting to find what is required to be a sonnet.. so what you are showing is there are 3 types ?
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Added on May 26, 2013
Last Updated on May 26, 2013

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Stormie Sky
Stormie Sky

Lincoln , NE

Some of my poems might not be that good but please don't say anything bad about my poems because i know some of my poems are not that good then my other poems. I'm a girl who is different ..