Poetry is the expression of a thought, an idea, a concept or a story in a structured form which has a flow and a music created by the sounds and syllables in it.

All types of poetry are often written in several styles. These styles are defined by the number of lines in each stanza, the syllables used in each line or the structures of rhyme used and so on. Here is a list of the main types of poetry commonly used by poets all over the world.

Ballad: This is an old style of writing poetry, which was used to tell stories. A ballad usually has stanzas made up of either seven or eight or ten lines, and ends with a short four or five line stanza. Each stanza ends with the same line, which is called ‘a refrain’.

Couplet: Perhaps the most popular type of poetry used, the couplet has stanzas made up of two lines which rhyme with each other.

Quatrain: This kind of poem has four lines in a stanza, of which the second and fourth lines rhyme with each other and have a similar syllable structure.

Cinquain: This is another unique type of poetry style. As the name suggests, it is made up of five lines. The first line is just one word, which is often the title of the poem. The second line has two words which describe the first line. The third line has three words, and is mostly the action part of the poem. The fourth line is four words describing the feelings. And the fifth line, again, has just one word which is the title of the poem.

Iambic Pentameter: This is a very complicated style of writing poetry, but was often used by classical poets. This style uses the syllable stresses to create the musical sound. There is one short sounding syllable followed by one long sounding syllable, at the end of each of the five stanzas in a row.

Sonnet: This type of poem contains fourteen lines and follows conventional structures of rhyme.

Haiku: This is again a very structured method of writing poetry. This has its origins in Japan. This method does not use rhyme. There are three lines of five, seven and five syllables each. The poem must essentially talk about some aspect of Nature.

Free Verse: This is a method of writing poetry, which does not essentially follow any structure or style. There is no fixed meter and no structure regarding rhyme and lines in each stanza. This kind of poetry is quite popular with modern poets.

Epic: This poem is usually a long and descriptive one which tells a story. Epics usually are longer than most poems and may even take up a book. Example: Homer’s ‘Iliad’.

Limerick: This is a very witty and often vulgar kind of a poem, which is quite short. This poem has five lines in a stanza. The first, second and fifth line have the same metrical structure and they rhyme with each other. They contain seven to ten syllables each. The second and fourth lines have the same metrical structure and rhyme with each other. These contain five to seven syllables.

These are by no means, all types of poetry forms used. But these are the basics. Most poets use these forms and structures while writing their poems. The form and structure of the poem, ideally should not limit the thought or the idea conveyed by the poet. However, these styles of writing help make the poem more musical in its flow.

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