Skip to main content

Blogs / Poetry / 8 Types of Poems (with Examples)

8 Types of Poems (with Examples)

types of poems

Ah, poetry! It’s like a literary magic trick—brief but breathtaking. Join us as we explore the types of poetry that stir our souls and spike our creative juices. From haiku to epic, every poetic form offers a unique gateway to express our deepest emotions and wildest imaginations. 

Why Do Different Poetry Types Matter

Why should fiction writers learn different types of poems? Well, each form of poetry is like a different dance step, teaching us new rhythms and expressions. For writers, poets, and even those who just love a good scribble, mastering these can enhance your descriptive skills, add variety to your writing, and most importantly, impress at parties! 

Engaging with lots of different forms of poetry enhances your expressive range. It can deepen your appreciation for literature because poetry makes every word and syllable count. So, whether you’re penning your verses in a sunlit cafe or brainstorming your next novel, understanding different poetry styles can add richness—and brevity—to your literary creations. 

Also, knowing your way around various styles of poetry lets you choose the best vessel for your story, making your work more impactful and engaging.

5 Different Types of Poems


A haiku is a traditional Japanese form that captures a moment in three lines. It has a syllabic pattern of 5-7-5. It’s all about painting a vivid picture with a few strokes—perfect for capturing snapshots of nature or fleeting moments in life.

In this famous haiku by Basho, we see what makes haiku an art form of both precision and depth. The poem references a singular, serene moment at an old pond. Basho’s choice to focus on such a specific action allows the reader to share in the immediacy and brevity of the event, while also pondering the larger, perhaps more philosophical implications of disturbance and tranquility in the natural world.


Old pond—

a frog jumps in,

sound of water. 


haiku example


The sonnet is known for its 14 lines and a strict rhyme scheme. It’s a powerhouse for expressing deep emotions and complex thoughts, often culminating in a dramatic turn, or volta.

Shakespeare’s “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” is perhaps one of the most recognizable sonnets, illustrating the poet’s mastery of evocative imagery. This sonnet explores themes of love and beauty but also touches on time’s passing and the idea of immortality through art. 

It’s a fantastic example of a sonnet’s ability to explore complex ideas within a strict form.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnet 18)

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


Free Verse

Free verse throws traditional rules out the window—no rhyme, no rhythm, no problem! This form lets poets use natural speech patterns, making it versatile for conveying personal feelings and modern narratives.

“The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams showcases free verse’s freedom from traditional meter and rhyme schemes. Williams’ choice to isolate each small phrase on its own line magnifies the significance of these ordinary objects, suggesting a deeper interdependence between them and their environment. 

The absence of a structured meter or rhyme allows the imagery and the natural breaks in the lines to guide the rhythm of the reading, emphasizing the visual and thematic elements of the poem. 

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends



a red wheel



glazed with rain



beside the white


(William Carlos Williams)

free verse example


The villanelle is known for its repeating lines and ABA rhyme scheme, creating a hauntingly beautiful effect. It’s great for themes of obsession or ongoing struggle, as the repetition can mirror an unending cycle.

“One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop is a poignant example of a villanelle. Bishop uses this form to explore the theme of loss, methodically illustrating how it can be both a mundane and a profoundly transformative experience. Bishop’s careful control of the villanelle structure mirrors the control she suggests one might aspire to have over their response to losses. 

Through this poem, Bishop uses the villanelle to underscore the universality of loss, capturing both its trivial and tragic aspects in a form that itself cycles back repetitively, much like the experiences of loss in our lives.

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster


of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:


places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or


next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,


some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

–Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture


I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

(Elizabeth Bishop)


An epic poem tells a grand story, often involving heroes, gods, and adventure. These are long, narrative poems that encapsulate large-scale themes of human existence and cultural myths.

Homer’s epic poems, “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” epitomize the genre of epic poetry. These ancient Greek texts explore grand themes of heroism, honor, and the human condition against the backdrop of the Trojan War and its aftermath. Homer’s narrative technique is characterized by its expansive scope, detailed lineage of characters, and the invocation of the divine, all woven into a rich tapestry of myth and history.

In “The Iliad,” Homer focuses on the rage of Achilles, its consequences, and the immense suffering and heroism found in battle. The poem not only describes individual combats and strategic conflicts but also delves into the emotional and psychological struggles of its characters. This creates a multifaceted narrative that reflects on the nature of glory, wrath, and mortality. 

“The Odyssey,” on the other hand, recounts the long and treacherous journey of Odysseus back to his homeland following the end of the Trojan War. It is a tale of survival, cunning, and the enduring power of wit, portraying Odysseus’s encounters with mythical creatures and divine entities. Throughout the odyssey, themes of perseverance, loyalty, and the pursuit of home resonate deeply.

Both epics use dactylic hexameter, a formal meter that contributes to the grandeur and ceremonial quality of the storytelling. This rhythmic structure helps convey the scale of the events and the larger-than-life qualities of the characters. 

Homer’s skillful use of epithets and repeated phrases enhances the oral tradition, making these stories a narrative achievement and a cornerstone of ancient Greek performance art. They encapsulate the essence of epic storytelling—vast in scope, rich in detail, and profound in their exploration of human virtues and vices.

Easy Poems to Write to Improve Your Literature

If you’re itching to try your hand at poetry but don’t know where to start, consider these beginner-friendly types:

Acrostic Poems

Acrostic poems are a delightful entryway into poetry for writers of all levels, and they come with a playful twist. 

Here’s how they work: You start with a word or phrase—maybe it’s someone’s name, a feeling, or any subject you’re passionate about. Write this word vertically down your page. Each letter will serve as the first letter of a new line of your poem, creating a spine of sorts that spells out your chosen word or message.

The magic of acrostic poems lies in their simplicity and the creative challenge of tying each line back to the central word, enhancing the depth and connection to the theme.

For example:

Light cascades through the open window,

Overcoming the shadows of doubt.

Voices of the morning whisper secrets,

Each word a soft kiss upon the heart.

(Angie Andriot)

In this acrostic, “LOVE” serves as both the spine and the theme of the poem, guiding each line to explore different aspects of love’s influence and presence. 

The key to crafting a compelling acrostic is to think deeply about how each line connects not just to the letter it starts with but to the overall subject or emotion you want to convey. This intertwining of form and content makes your poem structurally interesting and imbues it with a rich layer of meaning.

acrostic poem example

Writing Your Own Acrostic Poem

To write your own acrostic poem, start by choosing a word that sparks your interest or holds personal significance. Then, brainstorm ideas or images associated with each letter of your word. 

Remember, the beauty of poetry is in the expression, so let your thoughts flow freely and see where each letter takes you. Whether your lines are deeply interconnected or simply share a common theme, your acrostic will be uniquely yours—a poetic fingerprint.

Now, give it a try! Pick a word that resonates with you and sketch out your own acrostic. It’s a fantastic exercise to stretch your creative muscles and to add a sprinkle of poetic flair to your writing day. Who knows, this little poem might just bloom into something larger in your creative garden. 

Clerihew Poems

Clerihew poems are a blast! They’re whimsical, biographical verses that focus on a person, often poking gentle fun or offering a lighthearted take on their characteristics. 

A Clerihew consists of two rhymed couplets (AABB rhyme scheme) and typically begins with the name of the person being written about. The beauty of a Clerihew lies in its simplicity and the humor it packs into a few lines, making it accessible for poets of all levels.

For example:

Sir Isaac Newton

Found gravity while in seclusion.

An apple fell, quite the convolution,

Started theories of motion and revolution.

(Angie Andriot)

In this example, the Clerihew highlights a playful take on a significant historical figure, Isaac Newton, and his discovery of gravity. The key to a great Clerihew is not just in rhyming but in capturing a quirky, amusing snapshot that reflects the personality or life of the subject in an unexpected light.

Writing Your Own Clerihew

To craft your own Clerihew, start by selecting a person you find interesting—this could be a historical figure, a celebrity, or even someone you know. 

The first line should state the person’s name, setting the stage for your poem. The subsequent lines can be fun and cheeky, revealing or fabricating a humorous anecdote or trait about them.

Here’s a quick step-by-step to get you started:

  1. Choose Your Subject: Pick a person who intrigues or amuses you.
  2. First Line: Write their name to start the poem. It’s usually the entire first line.
  3. Rhyme and Rhythm: Follow with a second line that rhymes with the name. Then, add two more lines with a new rhyme to complete the couplet.
  4. Keep It Light: Aim for humor and light-heartedness. The funnier and more surprising, the better!

Now, it’s your turn! Grab a pen, think of a notable character (real or fictional), and let the rhymes flow. Whether you choose Albert Einstein, Beyoncé, or your eccentric Uncle Joe, your Clerihew is sure to bring a smile to faces. It’s a perfect little project to brighten up your day or share a laugh with others. 

Limerick Poems

Limericks pack a lot of fun into five lines. These short, rhythmic poems are known for their AABBA rhyme scheme, and they often contain a witty, humorous, or sometimes even naughty twist. 

Originating from the Irish town of Limerick, this form of poetry is a favorite for its playful structure and the challenge of delivering a punchline or a clever end within a tight rhythmic framework.

For example:

There once was a perfumer from Crete,

Whose scents were incredibly sweet.

With roses and spice,

He’d mix something nice,

But his secret? Old socks for the feat!

(Angie Andriot)

In this limerick, the humor arises from the absurdity of the situation and the surprise twist at the end. The key to a good limerick is not just in sticking to the rhyme scheme, but in how effectively you set up the scenario and punchline in those five lines.

Writing Your Own:

  1. First Line: Start with a person or an animal, often in a specific location. This sets the stage for your narrative.
  2. Second and Third Lines: These should roll forward the amusing situation you’re sketching out, escalating towards the climax or twist.
  3. Fourth and Fifth Lines: The fourth line usually sets up the punchline, which the fifth line delivers with a twist or a humorous conclusion.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Maintain the Rhythm: The rhythm in a limerick is crucial. The first, second, and fifth lines should have roughly the same rhythmic pattern and syllable count, and the third and fourth lines should be shorter but matched in length and rhythm to each other.
  • Aim for Clever Turns: Limericks often hinge on wordplay, clever puns, or unexpected turns of phrase. The funnier the ending, the more memorable your limerick will be.
  • Keep it Light and Playful: While limericks can be naughty or edgy, they’re best kept light and funny, especially if you’re sharing them broadly.

Now, try crafting your own limerick! Maybe about a whimsical dog from Spain or a quirky baker from Maine—whatever strikes your fancy. Limericks are a wonderful way to exercise your wit and have a little poetic fun. 

Each of these forms is a playground for the imagination, helping you hone your skill at imagery, metaphor, and rhythm. What’s more, the skills you develop through poetry can dramatically improve the texture and depth of your longer written works, like novels or essays.

Exploring different kinds of poems isn’t just an academic exercise—it’s a journey into the heart of storytelling. By experimenting with various poetry types, you enrich your own writing repertoire and gain tools that can transform how you write everything from character sketches to scenic descriptions in your stories. 

So, why not pick a poem type from above and craft your own? Who knows, it might just spark a new chapter in your creative life!

start premium trial