My Favorite Poetic Forms

Sonnets were William Shakespeare’s forte and Edward Lear wrote limericks. Every poet examines the physical world differently and writes of those accounts, along with the imagination, contrastingly. A sonnet’s complex parameters and silly, vulgar scenarios in limericks are not aligned with my poetic voice and style. I find adventure in free verse, rhythm in haiku, freedom in the ode, and direction in acrostic.

I believe in poetic depth, how beautiful it can be to detail a story through meter, repetition, rhyme, line breaks, pacing, form, and other qualities. I believe in the wildness of poetry, the balance of a multitude of ideas grabbing the reader and taking him or her on a journey. I believe in the extra creative freedom poetry incorporates, entering spaces and places prose might not reach so easily. I believe in the healing power poetry emanates for the writer and reader. And it is because of all these things, and more, that I love National Poetry Writing Month.

Right now, I am reflecting on NaPoWriMo and various poetic forms to reveal my favorites and inspire myself for the month out yonder.

Free verse flings limitation out the window and it is the poetic form I resort to often. The lack of rule makes the form desirable when you simply want words to escape your mind and see where the experience takes you. Additionally, free verse assists in experimentation and finalizing the shape a poem should take.

My writing process for any given poem is to pinpoint an idea, which is often constructed around a theme, and pursue it. As I begin writing, I pay attention to what of the poem feels natural and the elements that appear misplaced. From there, I consider if significant editing is ahead or if another poetic form would complement the poem better. Free verse can help locate the essential features of a poem and how it can best be reconstructed.


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When it comes to haiku, the parameters are tighter with three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables.

I admire the quickness of a haiku. Here, minimal word count contributes to the pace and exactness. It’s interesting to see how a small batch of words create the same image or make a similar point to a larger collection of words. This type of poem zooms into the subject and its essence is detailed, mimicking Imagism.

Imagism is one of my favorite poetic movements that utilizes sharp, polished language to communicate an idea or make a scene pop. The careful consideration of words and my appeal to strong, well-considered description reminds me of this lively movement.

Far from overwhelming, writing a haiku is an enjoyable form. Each National Poetry Writing Month, I sprinkle a few haikus to my typical abundance of free verse. And since I like haikus, tankas are also fun. A tanka consists of 5 lines with syllables of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7.

I remember writing my first ode in eleventh grade, “An Ode to Pencils.” Recalling sections of the poem is easy, but, unfortunately, I don’t have the complete copy. I referenced the yellow of a pencil to Vincent van Gogh’s sunflowers, aiming to bring to life the joy and artsiness of a pencil, as well as all the stories graphite leaves behind.

I composed the poem during an autumn afternoon. I remember feeling inspired by the ideas pulsing through my mind as I sat window-side. I knew at that moment writing odes would always be this perfect. Even the word ode sounds musical, holding a personality all its own.

Finally, when it comes to acrostics, they may come off as amateur as many times acrostics are taught in early elementary school years. However, the acrostic is an effective and worthy poetic form.

The word or phrase you select to create the poem’s structure can be as literal or figurative in regard to the subject at hand. The selected word or phrase can emphasize an important message, house a specific feeling, assist in illuminating the composition’s tone or mood, create an additional ‘visual’, and so much more. In combination with the poem’s title, the extra language with a designated function can make an acrostic standout.

3 thoughts on “My Favorite Poetic Forms

  1. I also write poetry most often in free verse, but recently, have been experimenting with other forms. Until I took an online course in poetry, I had no idea so many different forms existed.

    Liked by 1 person

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