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What Are the Different Types of Short Poetry?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 23, 2024
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Different types of short poetry often take one of a number of various forms, often based on a particular structure or utilizing a certain rhyme scheme or lack of rhyme. A rhyming poem, for example, can be of any length and may be quite popular in shorter poetry, as rhyme schemes can be much more difficult to maintain in longer poems. Blank verse, on the other hand, lacks any sort of rhyme scheme and can make short poems simple and fairly unassuming in structure. There are also specific types of short poetry, such as haiku and limericks, which usually follow a very specific format.

Short poetry refers to any works of poetry that are fairly short in length, while still maintaining many of the features and devices of longer poetic works. The length of these poems can vary, though they are typically seen as poems that are no more than a single page in length. Longer poems can be many pages long, and epic poems may be the length of a novel or novella and tell a story throughout the entire work.

One of the most common types of short poetry is written with a particular rhyme scheme. This rhyme can be established by the poet, and may be fairly simple or quite complicated, depending on his or her preferences and style. A rhyming poem is often easier to compose when it is of short length, as rhyming can be fairly difficult in longer works and may ultimately undermine the work if done poorly.

Blank verse poems can also be found throughout various collections of short poetry. These works forgo an established rhyme scheme, though some rhyming may be utilized. The language used in this type of short poetry is often intended to create vivid images in the mind of the reader and the loose structure of blank verse can utilize the form of the poem itself to relay a message.

There are also some established types of short poetry that follow a very specific structure. Haiku, for example, are Japanese in origin and are created using a very rigid format. Most haiku use a simple “5-7-5” layout, consisting of only three lines — the first line has five syllables, the second has seven syllables, and the third has five syllables again. These poems are traditionally written about nature, though other themes and subjects have been used more recently.

Limericks are types of short poetry that utilize both a certain structure and a particular rhyme scheme. These poems usually consist of five lines; the first, second, and fifth lines all tend to have about seven to ten syllables and all rhyme with each other. Lines three and four typically have about five to seven syllables and rhyme with each other, but do not follow the rhyme scheme of the other three lines. While the subjects of limericks are often bawdy, this simple structure also makes limericks excellent beginning poems for children and students.

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