Made famous by the greek poetess Sappho of Lesbos, c 600 BC - the Sapphic stanza is a metric poetic form spanning 4 lines.
The form has 3 hendecasyllabic lines - Each consisting of the following metric feet: trochee, trochee, dactyl, trochee, trochee
The fourth, concluding line has a Dactyl followed by a Trochee - this last line is known as the Adonic or Adonean line.
A brief note on the metric feet used in Sapphic Verse -
A Trochee is a two syllable foot, which follows a 'DAH-dah' rhythm
A Dactyl is a three syllable foot, which follows a 'DAH-dah-dah' rhythm
'Sapphics' by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Saw the white implacable Aphrodite,
Saw the hair unbound and the feet unsandalled
Shine as fire of sunset on western waters;
Saw the reluctant. . .
to show the metric pattern -
SAW the / WHITE im- / PLACable / APHro- / DIte
SAW the / HAIR un- / BOUND and the / FEET un- / SANDalled
SHINE as / FIRE of / SUNset on / WESTe
Sotades invented palindromes in Greek-ruled Egypt, back in the 3rd century BC. In fact, palindromes were once known as "Sotadic verses." He was thrown into the sea (wrapped in lead) by King Ptolemy II, for insulting the king in one of his verses.
They were quite popular in the 1800's, but have not shared much popularity since around the 1930's.
Palindrome comes from the Greek words "palin" (again or back) and "dramein" (to run). So if you read that backwards, it translates loosely into "to run back."
The palindrome simply reads the same forwards and backwards, usually with a central focal point from where it begins to read backwards. There are several ways to write palindrome poems, three are presented here, along with examples.
1. It can be read backwards, with the same words, such as the example below.
by Paula Brown
Passionate always, forging forward.
Unquiet rage screams
The glosa is an early Renaissance form that was developed by poets of the Spanish court in the 14th and 15th centuries. In a glosa, tribute is paid to another poet. The opening quatrain, called a cabeza, is by another poet, and each of their four lines are imbedded elsewhere in the glosa.
The opening quatrain is followed by four stanzas, each of which is generally ten lines long, that elaborate or "glosses" on the cabeza chosen. Each ending line (10th line) of the four following stanzas is taken from the cabeza.
The usual rhyme scheme of a glosa is final word rhyming of the 6th, 9th and the borrowed 10th lines.
Irish Pride and Prejudice
(Glosa verse by Darren Anderson)
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
In memory of W.B. Yeats
A putrid scene of civil conflict
returns without regret,
festering in dead hearts,
lacking the fortitude to forgive.
Waiting, we long for
An acrostic poem is created by arranging the first letter of each line so that they flow in alphabetical order, or form a word or phrase. Rhyme and meter aren't issues in this style of poetry, which causes some to consider it not poetry at all. Also, the only set length is that of what you choose to represent with the first letters. However, it's been around for thousands of years. This style was common among the Greeks and derived from the Greek words akros, "at the end," and stichos, "line". It was used by Latin playwrights and Medieval monks; it was popular in the Middle High German and Italian renaissance periods. If it please ya, learn more from the links below.
Mounting the sky, higher and higher;
Oblivious to we who dwell below;
Only she feels the warmth of the sun
Now that he has set.
The subject of this poem is the "moon", as indicated by the bolded letters.
Before Adelaide Crapsy developed her version, a cinquain had the same definition as quintain. These are both poems of five lines with varying rhyme, though most often forming the familiar 'abab' layout. Ms. Crapsy's version of a cinquain is somewhat different. While she was American, Japanese poetry was an obvious influence.
The style still contains five lines, but the syllables of each are strictly measured. The first and fifth contain two syllables apiece. Line two has four syllables, line three is allottted six, and the fourth line contains eight. This gives you a grand total of twenty-two syllables in which to express yourself. Rhyme is optional in this version.
An example of a cinquain:
Line 1: Thunder,
The tetractys, made famous by Pythagoras, has become a modern poetry form. Ten was thought to be a number of power, and by having the lines leading up to the last line equal ten, it seemed logical for the creator of the tetractys poetry form to name it such.
A tetractys has in total, five lines. The syllables are as follows:
First Line - 1 syllable
Second Line - 2 syllables
Third Line - 3 syllables
Fourth Line - 4 syllables
Fifth Line - 10 syllables
In any formatting, it gives a triangle shape. It can be reversed, starting with the ten lines, and moving downwards for a "reversed tetractys." There are also what is called "double tetractys" in which two you have a tetractys followed immediately by a second tetractys. A normal tetractys followed by a reversed tetractys would give you a diamond shape.
There is no set rhyme scheme for a tetractys, you can choose to rhyme or not. Here are two examples from Ray Stebbing, who credits himself with coming up with this form:
A rictameter is an interesting, and visually beautiful type of poem. When centered, it looks much like a diamond. It is similar in idea to a haiku as far as the spirit of the poem, but seems to be an evolution of a cinquain.
To form a rictameter, you start with a line of two syllables, then consecutively increase each syllable number in the next lines by two, until you reach ten syllables in the fifth line. Then, you start decreasing by two syllables, until you reach the same two syllable line you started with.
The syllables would look something like this per line: 2,4,6,8,10,8,6,4,2.
If you wish to experiment with a rictameter, there are a number of ways to do so, one of which, the simplest, is to not use the same 2 syllable word from line one in line nine. There are also "double rictameters" which is basically one poem, of two rictameters in a row, which again is very visually expressive. There is also the inverted rictameter, in which you start with a ten syllable line, go down to a
The terza rima is a traditional poetic form whose most renowned offspring is Dante's 'The Divine Comedy' (ca. 1300).
Obviously it wasn't first written in English, but it works just as well and is very pleasant in my opinion, especially when it's read aloud/performed.
The form is best written in iambic pentameter:
The sheep was killed by wings of fire and ice;
(the SHEEP | was KILLED | by WINGS | of FIRE | and ICE)
And yes, I know that example is horrible, but it gets the point across
The rhyming scheme is as follows:
a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d, e-e
Here is an example from Shelley's 'Ode to the West Wind':
O wild West Wing, thou breath of Autumn's being, (a)
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead (b)
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, (a)
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, (b)
Pestilence stricken multitudes: O thou (c)
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed (b)
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low
The Ghazal is an adaptation of a Persian form of poetry used to honor emperors and noblemen. A part of this poem broke off and evolved into the Ghazal. It is not a very commonly used English form as it was introduced only recently.
The Ghazal is a string of 5-15 couplets, with each couplet being able to stand alone as a complete thought and/or poem. At the end of the second line of every couplet is a 1-3 word long refrain. The word before the refrain is a rhyme that carries through the entire poem. A rhyming scheme would look like that: AA, BA, CA, DA, and so on.
The first and last couplets are special. In the first couplet, called matla, the rhyme is used in both lines. Often in the last couplet, the author's penname is used. The last couplet is the most personal one of the poem, and expresses something from the author's point of view.
Here is a Ghazal by Erin A. Thomas.
Once bright homes in blossom, now dead fallen,
They lay by the spinning blade's head fallen.