Department of Writing Studies:
1 – Introduction
Welcome to the Krath Poetry course. In this course, I’ll be explaining to you the basics of poetry, such as the classes of poems, various forms of rhyme scheme, and the like. The goal of this course is to help you be able to write poetry, if not well, then at least properly, from a mechanical stand point.
2 – The Common Poem
This section will deal with the “standard” poem most people are accustomed to. It tends to follow a rhyme pattern, and is considered one of the easiest types of poems to write. Within this particular class of poem are several sub-sets of a sort, such as doublets, octoplets, septuplets, and others. Generally, if you see a word ending in -let, if will be referring to this type of poem. Now, before anyone begins to panic over vocabulary, this is, as I said before, one of the easiest. The various -let types simply refer to the number of lines in a stanza, the paragraph of poetry. A doublet has two lines, making it a “double” line. An octoplet has eight lines per stanza, a septuplet seven, and others. Therefore, if you see a poem that has the same number of lines in each stanza, you can easily classify it by determining the correct prefix for -let.
Not all “simple” poems follow this pattern, however. For the sake of variety, many poems will use a variety of stanza sizes, though careful attention should be paid to keeping a general flow. For a poem with a simple structure, yet a great deal of unnatural breaks, pauses, and jumps is something to be avoided.
3 – Rhyme Patterns
3.A-Simple Single Stanza
Arguably the most common and easiest of rhyme schemes, the last word of each line rhymes. This will generally be per stanza, as having an entire poem end with the same rhyme pattern is very difficult.
3.B-Complex Single Stanza
Don’t let the name worry you, it’s only called “Complex” because it isn’t as simple as the first example. It basically involves two or more rhyming patterns. This is best explained through the examples, though again.
This combines one of the two forms above, more often the Complex Single Stanza, and spreads it across multiple stanzas or the entire poem. Once more, this is more easily demonstrated by example.
Most people don’t think of this when they think of poetry, because they’re very set on poetry rhyming. Poetry without a rhyme scheme, however, is some of the most famous poetry in the world. Those who have read Shakespeare’s plays have read this form of poem. The reason this counts as poetry, and not simple fiction, is that, though there is no rhyme scheme, is has a careful, rhythmic flow. Each line will have a certain number of syllables, and generally a set flow of stressed syllables. Since this pattern of syllables and stresses is best noticed when spoken, these are often meant to be read aloud. A specialized form of this is Iambic pentameter, the form used in most of Shakespeare’s works. Iambic pentameter is the use of five “feet”, in each line, each foot containing two syllables (there by ten syllables total), and an alternation on stressed and unstressed syllables (Pentameter = “five meters”). Also, please note that, although the stress pattern is important, you need to keep the word’s regular stresses. Altering the natural stress of a syllable makes the poem sound very strange, and therefore must be avoided.
Example of Iambic Pentameter (from Romeo and Juliet. The stressed syllables are bold):
But soft! What light through *yon*der *win*dow breaks?
It is the east, and *Jul*iet is the sun.
5-Less Common Poetry
A Haiku is one of the most specialized forms of poetry there is, since it is the most rigidly structured. A Haiku poem has three lines, with the first line containing five syllables, the second containing seven syllables, and the third containing five syllables again. There is almost never a rhyme scheme, though there is no reason there cannot be. Also, there is no requirement stating that each line must be a complete sentence.
Example (with syllables marked):
Three| things| are| cer|tain:
Death|, tax|es| and| lost| da|ta.
Guess| which| has| o|ccurred.
A limerick is essentially a quintet (five line to a stanza poem) with a very set rhyme scheme, almost always with a humorous subject, resulting in it being called, occasionally, the “joke poem.” It commonly tells a story, and will usually start with “There once was a…” The rhyme structure is that the first, second, and fifth lines rhyme, and the third and fourth lines rhyme. Note, though, that neither of the sets cross rhyme. There is also a stress scheme that must be followed. In the first, second, and fifth lines, there are three sets of syllables that repeat, two unstressed and one stressed. Note that the second unstressed syllable in the first sequence is optional, and it is optional to have two additional unstressed syllables at the end of the line. In the third and fourth lines, the unstressed-unstressed-stressed pattern repeats twice. The second unstressed syllable in the first sequence it again optional, as are two unstressed syllables at the end of the lines.
There once was a lady named Bright
Whose speed was much faster than Light
She set off one day
In a relative way
And returned the previous night
A line poem is a very specialized form of poetry, because, unlike a “standard” poem which requires attention to the last word of a line and the rhyme scheme, attention must be paid to the first word in a line. A line poem is a poem in which, if you take the first letter of the first word in each line, it will spell out a word or phrase, and quite often describes the word/phrase it spells out. Rhyming is optional.
Example: *P*leasing to the ear *O*ften read aloud *E*njoyed by many people *M*any have been written
A diamante is a non-rhyming poem that describes two opposite nouns (kudos if you can remember the technical term). These are fairly simple to write, but can also be sophisticated and complex, mostly dependent on your word choice.
It has seven lines with differing numbers of words per line. It goes as follows:
Number of words per line:
The following example of a diamante was written by the course author, Dark Sabre:
Beaming, Shining, Enfolding
Happiness, Joy, Anger, Subterfuge
Tricking, Confusing, Touching
As you can see from the example, the words create a “diamond” shape.
The first and last words are antonyms, or, if you’re writing about something such as color or an element, they can be related but still different. The second and second to last lines contain adjectives describing the noun that’s closest to them spatially.
The next two lines up and down are verbs in the present progressive tense (which is just a fancy way of saying they end in “-ing”). The first two in the middle line are other nouns describing or related to the first noun; the second two correspond to the second noun.
6.A-The English (Shakespearean) Sonnet
The word “sonnet” is derived from Italian, from the word “sonnetto” translated as “little song” or “small song.” They were originally popularized by the famous Italian poet Petrarch. His sonnets differ from the English or Shakespearean sonnet in rhyme scheme and how the poe