Video:Types of Poetrywith Heather Kamins
It is nearly impossible to summarize and categorize all the various types of poetry existing and still being created in the world. Learn about some more common types of poetry in this literature video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:Types of Poetry
Hi, I'm Heather Kamins for About.com, and I'm here to talk to you about types of poetry.
When you hear the word poetry, you might have a fixed idea in your head about what that means. But there's actually a whole world of different types of poetry out there. Formal poetry is often thought of as traditional poetry. Some fixed forms such as sonnets or limericks have very specific line counts, rhythmic patterns and rhyme schemes. So, for example, a Shakespearean sonnet has 14 lines in iambic pentameter, and the rhyme scheme is: A B A B, C D C D, E F E F, G G. Other forms use different kinds of constraints, such as repeating end words, or words that repeat later in the poem.
Free Verse, Prose, and Experimental Poetry
Free verse poems are very common today, and they don't have specific fixed rules in terms of line count and rhythmic patterns or rhyme. In fact, most free verse poems don't actually rhyme. Some free verse poetry does use some traditional elements like alliteration, and it can use rhythmic patterns and rhyme, but it does so on its own terms. There's no specific way it has to do that. Free verse poetry also relies on line breaks, which can be broken in different places to emphasize different words in the poem and create different meanings.
Prose poetry combines elements of prose and poetry into one hybrid form. It doesn't use line breaks, but it does use a lot of the same techniques as free verse: alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme, poetic imagery.
Some types of poetry step in a different direction and this is experimental poetry. One is Oulipo. It uses different types of formulas and constraints to create new poems. For example, you could take a set poem that exists already, and replace each noun with a different noun from the dictionary.
Another form of poetry that's very different from language poetry, but still relies very heavily on a connection with its audience is performance poetry, it's delivered out loud to an audience, often very energetically. One popular form of performance poetry is known as slam poetry, usually performed at events called slam poetry competitions. Many performance poets are young and from a diverse background, and performance poetry often covers political topics - inequality or current events - and that makes it a very democratic form of poetry.
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