20 Fun Poem Types You’ve Never Heard Of

Poetry Terms and 20 Poetry Ideas PinTo celebrate National Poetry Month (in April), I thought I would share some fun poetry ideas to get those creative juices flowing, along with a FREEBIE handouts Glossary of Poetic Terms and 20 Fun Poem Types! Last year at this time, I posted Thirty Poetry Project Ideas for National Poetry Month, so this year, I thought I would introduce some poetry ideas you may never have tried – or even heard of!

*NOTE:  Some of these are on the “challenging” side and have been so indicated with an asterisk. Have fun!

  1. Canzone*: a Canzone is a Medieval Italian lyric style poetry similar to a sonnet, with five or six stanzas and a shorter ending stanza. While the typical sonnet is 14 lines, a canzone can range from 7 to 20 lines.  Poetry Through The Ages at WebExhibits.com has done a great job of breaking down writing a canzone.
  2. Clerihew: a clerihew is a humorous poem about a person, usually well-known.  This could be a great way to have students write about a character in a novel or a famous person they are studying. The poem consists of two rhymed couplets.
  3. Dodoitsu: a type of Japanese song, often about love.  It consists of four unrhymed lines with 7,7,7,5 syllables.
  4. Etheree*: a ten-line poem of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 syllables or backward, with 10 through 1 syllable. Challenging and fun!
  5. Ghazal: originating from ancient Persia, a ghazal is essentially a set of two-line poems having to do with lost or unattainable love.  The rhyme scheme is AA, BA, CA, DA, EA, and so on.
  6. Katuata: a stand-alone, three-line poem of Japanese descent. The poem is 19 syllables or fewer, usually in 5, 7, 7 syllable lines.
  7. Kyrielle: a type of French poetry with rhyming couplets, usually written in quatrains in iambic tetrameter.  For an explanation and example, check out Writing.com‘s lesson in the Kyrielle.
  8. Lanturne: a five-line Japanese poem consisting of 1,2,3,4 and 1 syllable.  When written, the poem is supposed to look like a lantern!  Cute and fun!
  9. Naani: an Indian four-line poem with a total of 20-25 syllables
  10. Nonet: the term “nonet” refers to a group of nine.  A nonet poem consists of nine lines, beginning with nine syllables, then eight, then seven, and so on.
  11. Quinzaine: a three-line poem: the first line makes a statement and the next two lines ask a question relating to the statement.  The first line is 7 syllables, the second is 5, and the third is 3 syllables.
  12. Rispetto: from the Italian word “respect,” usually respect for a loved one. A rispetto is a Tuscan verse poem consisting of eight 11-syllable lines, usually following the rhyme scheme abab, ccdd.
  13. Rondeau*: think “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in rounds. A rondau (round) is a French form of poetry of 15 lines of eight or ten syllables arranged in three stanzas — the first stanza is five lines (quintet), the second four lines (quatrain), and the final stanza six lines (sestet).
  14. Rondelet*: also a French form, the challenging rondelet consists of one stanza with seven lines, the rhyme scheme consisting of A, b, A, b, b, b, A
  15. Sedoka: an unrhymed poem of two 3-line katuatas (see above) with the syllable count 5, 7, 7, – 5, 7, 7.
  16. Senryu: a senryu is also a Japanese form of poem, similar to a haiku, with 5, 7, 5 syllables.
  17. Tetracys*: The Tetractys is a poetic form consisting of at least 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (total of 20).  Tetractys can also be reversed and written 10, 4, 3, 2, 1.
  18. Than-Bauk: While this ancient form may sound complicated, it is actually very easy once you understand the format!  The Than Bauk (also Thanbauk) is an old Burmese form that consists of at least three lines of only four syllables per line. Explained well here.
  19. Triolet*: the triolet is an eight-line poem with a strict rhyme and pattern of repetition. The form follows ABaAabAB.
  20. Tyburn: a 6 line poem;  the first four lines must consist of 2 syllable words and the last two lines must consist of 9 syllables: 2,2,2,2,9,9 syllables.

Have fun with these; I am sure your students will enjoy them! I hope you’ll try some of these in your classes!  If you do, please be sure to share your stories.  If you have other favorites we’ve probably never heard of, please share.

Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to download (and rate, please!) the FREEBIE Glossary of Poetic Terms and 20 Fun Poem Types!

Glossary of Poetry Terms and 20 Poetry Ideas

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