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Poetic Forms. Closed Form Poems. Recognizable patterns Patterns can be determined by: Stanza length Metrical pattern (ex: iambic pentameter) Rhyme scheme Syllable count. Meter. Patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables The basic unit of meter is a foot .

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closed form poems
Closed Form Poems
  • Recognizable patterns
  • Patterns can be determined by:
    • Stanza length
    • Metrical pattern (ex: iambic pentameter)
    • Rhyme scheme
    • Syllable count
  • Patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables
  • The basic unit of meter is a foot.
  • Most common feet in English poetry:
    • Iamb — /
    • Trochee / —
    • Anapest —— /
    • Dactyl / ——
    • Spondee / /
    • Pyrrhic ——
metrical lines
Metrical Lines
  • One footmonometer
  • Two feetdimeter
  • Three feettrimeter
  • Four feettetrameter
  • Five feetpentameter
  • Six feet hexameter
  • Seven feetheptameter
  • Eight feetoctameter
  • 2 line stanzas: couplets
  • 3 line stanzas:
    • tercets
    • triplets:aaabbb ccc ddd
    • terzarima:aba bcbcdcded
  • 4 line stanzas: quatrains
  • 5 line stanzas: quintets
  • 6 line stanzas: sestets
  • 7 line stanzas: septets
  • 8 line stanzas: octaves

Rhyming Couplets – aabbccdd… rhyme scheme

Heroic Couplets – rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter

  • O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
  • My great example, as it is my theme!
  • Though deep yet clear, though gentle yet not dull;
  • Strong without rage, without o'erflowing full.
  • Narrative (tells us a story)
  • 4 line stanzas
  • Conversational language -- dialect
  • Common Meter:
    • iambic tetrameter alternating with
    • iambic trimeter
  • Rhyme Scheme:
    • abab or abcb
  • Refrains: exact or incremental repetition
  • a mournful, melancholic or nostalgic poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead.
  • The Romantics also used this word to label a “serious meditative poem.”
  • Ancient Greek origin
  • Lyric
  • Lengthy
  • Metered verse
  • Lofty, elevated style
  • Addressed to a particular person, place, thing, or experience
  • Written as song of praise or celebration
  • Italian origin
  • Lyric
  • 14 lines
  • Iambic pentameter
Italian or Petrarchan


Octave -- presents problem

Sestet -- resolution or meditation upon problem


Octave -- abbaabba

Sestet-- cdecdeorcdccdcor cddcdd orvariation

English or Shakespearean


3Quatrains-- present similar images

Heroic Couplet-- pardoxical resolution


Quatrains --




Couplet --gg

  • French origin
  • Originated with round dance
  • Stanzas and Rhyme
    • 5 tercets: aba abaabaabaaba
    • 1 quatrain: abaa
  • Line Repetition
    • 1, 6, 12, 18
    • 3, 9, 15, 19
mad girl s love song by sylvia plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;I lift my lids and all is bornagain.(I think I made you up inside my head.)The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,And arbitrary darkness gallops in:I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.I dreamed that you bewitched me into bedAnd sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.(I think I made you up inside my head.)God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:Exit seraphim and Satan's men:I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.I fancied you'd return the way you said.But I grow old and I forget your name.(I think I made you up inside my head.)I should have loved a thunderbird instead;At least when spring comes they roar back again.I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Mad Girl's Love Song by Sylvia Plath
  • French origin
  • Stanzas:
    • 6sestets
    • 1tercet: anenvoi
  • Repetition and linking oftalons:
    • a/b/c/d/e/f
    • f/a/e/b/d/c
    • c/f/d/a/b/e
    • e/c/b/f/a/d
    • d/e/a/c/f/b
    • b/d/f/e/c/a
    • ba/dc/fe
  • Atmosphereranges from cozy to claustrophobic

"Sestina d'Inverno" by Anthony Hecht

Was blessed heaven once, more than an islandThe grand, utopian dream of a noble mind.In that kind climate the mere thought of snowWas but a wedding cake; the youthful natives,Unable to conceive of Rochester,Made love, and were acrobatic in the making.

Dream as we may, there is far more to makingDo than some wistful reverie of an island,Especially now when hope lies with the RochesterGas and Electric Co., which doesn't mindSuch profitable weather, while the nativesSink, like Pompeians, under a world of snow.

The one thing indisputable here is snow,The single verity of heaven's making,Deeply indifferent to the dreams of the natives,And the torn hoarding-posters of some island.Under our igloo skies the frozen mindHolds to one truth: it is grey, and called Rochester.

No island fantasy survives Rochester,Where to the natives destiny is snowThat is neither to our mind nor of our making.

Here in this bleak city of Rochester,Where there are twenty-seven words for "snow,"Not all of them polite, the wayward mindBasks in some Yucatan of its own making,Some coppery, sleek lagoon, or cinnamon islandAlive with lemon tints and burnished natives,

And O that we were there. But here the nativesOf this grey, sunless city of RochesterHave sown whole mines of salt about their land(Bare ruined Carthage that it is) while snowComes down as if The Flood were in the making.Yet on that ocean Marvell called the mind

An ark sets forth which is itself the mind,Bound for some pungent green, some shore whose nativesBlend coriander, cayenne, mint in makingRoasts that would gladden the Earl of RochesterWith sinfulness, and melt a polar snow.It might be well to remember that an island

terza rima
  • Rhyming verse stanza form that consists of an interlocking three line rhyme scheme
  • Rhyme Scheme:
    • A-B-A, B-C-B, C-D-C, D-E-D
    • No set length
    • Ends with a single line or a couplet
  • Usually written in iambic pentamter
acquainted with the night by robert frost
“Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night. (a)

have walked out in rain—and back in rain. (b)

I have outwalked the furthest city light. (a)

I have looked down the saddest city lane. (b)

I have passed by the watchman on his beat (c)

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. (b)

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet (c)

When far away an interrupted cry (d)

Came over houses from another street, (c)

But not to call me back or say good-bye; (d)

And further still at an unearthly height (a)

One luminary clock against the sky (d)

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. (a)

I have been one acquainted with the night. (a)