what is poetry?

what is poetry?

A Lesson by hannah

you can't write poems if you don't know what they are! here is a lesson explaining what makes a poem unique.


poem |ˈpōəm, ˈpōim, pōm|


a piece of writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is nearly always rhythmical, usually metaphorical, and often exhibits such formal elements as meter, rhyme, and stanzaic structure.

poetry is a unique type of writing because it does not use proper paragraphs, nor does it need to abide by normal grammatical rules (for example, saying "ain't" would be acceptable, in some cases, though it is technically not proper grammar). many writers around the world use poems to express how they feel in a concise, song-like manner. there are a wide variety of poem styles, many of which you'll be learning to write.

below i have listed some of the types you will be learning, as well as a short description of what makes that type special.

1. rubiyat

a rubiyat is an arabic format, in which the first, second, and fourth lines rhyme. (a-a-b-a)

ex. blue leaves blow

      upon the falling snow

              twinkling starlight

      put on a lovely show

2. acrostic

uses the first letter of each line to spell out a word, name, or phrase as you read down. 

ex. stars fly through the

      heavens from which

      i watch so patiently

      no one knows when you'll

      ever come back to me

3. free form

rhyming poetry without a set syllable scheme, meaning that the rhythm and word-flow decide where you rhyme (they must always end the lines, though!).

ex. it's hard to look for the light

      in the sun when it's late night

      but your eyes that shine so bright

      will lead me home and give me sight

4. free verse

free verse makes use of line breaks to accent and break up the words, similar to prose but broken up with line breaks

rather than punctuation and paragraphs.

ex. you are so


      to hold

      can't stand to see

      you stand 


4. haiku

haikus are a type of japanese poem consisting of three lines, capturing a thought with very few words. there should be five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the last.

ex. the seagull sings its song

      pale silver willow cries gently

      how i am at peace

5. limerick

limericks are generally very witty (and sometimes even offensive), with five lines in a verse. the first, second, and fifth line should have the same metrical structure, and should rhyme.

ex. i called out in a fright

      sir, sir, what is that bright light

      it's over there,

      above your head

      oh, it's just your bald head shining bright

(i do have to work on my own limericks, which i write.. close to never!)

6. damante

a damante poem is shaped like a diamond, containing seven lines with a very specific format.

   - noun or subject

   - two adjectives

   - three -ing words

   - four words about subject

   - three -ing words

   - two adjectives

   - synonym/antonym of subject

ex. whispers

      soft, sweet

      calling, singing, beckoning

      they call to me

      dreaming, hoping, wishing

      melodious, ghostly


poetry is an art of the human language, and because of the way it is used to convey emotions, ideas, and thoughts, they must rely on the imagery, word association, and musical qualities of the words used. 

a great website to check out if you want to learn more about poetry: 


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Posted 8 Months Ago

Very good information and I will probably will be reading this over and over again. Thank you!
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Added on December 6, 2014
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NO LONGER ACTIVE ON THIS ACCOUNT -- find me @paperplanes c; hey there! i'm hannah, and i'm a 12 year old writer. i mostly write songs and poems, posting what i write on whim. most of my writing is ..