Ten Main Forms of Poetry

poetry 3The beauty of poetry is that it has no definition. Each poet has defined it differently, but I personally find Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s definition most apt – “Poetry is the best words in the best order”.  As to what this best order is, again differs from poet to poet. Each poet puts his best words in the order that he feels will best communicate his feelings and moods to the reader. These different ways of expressing feelings has given rise to different forms of poetry. What are these different forms?

There are in all 51 different forms of poetry. It’s a little difficult to give all the forms here, so I’ll just give ten. The ten main forms of poetry in alphabetical order are:

1. Acrostic: A simple poetic form in which the first letter of each line spells out a related word. In other words, if you read down the first letters of each line, you will see that it forms a word that is usually the subject of the poem.

2. Ballad: A poem that tells a story, usually a folk tale or a legend. A ballad usually has seven, eight, or ten line stanzas; with last stanza being shorter with just four or five lines. Each stanza ends with the same line, called a refrain, which gives the effect of a song.

3. Blank verse: A poem written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. It is often unobtrusive and resembles the rhythm of speech.

4. Couplet: A poem with stanzas of two lines each, with each of the two lines ending with rhyming words.

5. Elegy: A sad and thoughtful poem about the death of a person.

6. Free verse: A poem with no pattern or style. This form allows the poet to express his feelings freely with no restriction of any kind.

7. Haiku: A three line poem with a set pattern – the three lines having five, seven, and five syllables each. Although a Haiku must essentially be about Nature, some poets tend to expand the subject area.

8. Limerick: A short five line witty and humorous poem with a set pattern – lines 1, 2, and 5 have seven to ten syllables, rhyme, and have the same rhythm; lines 3 and 4 have five to seven syllables, rhyme, and have the same rhythm.

9. Ode: A lengthy lyric poem of a serious and meditative nature, with an intricate formal structure and a dignified tone. An ode generally celebrates an occasion, something or someone.

10. Sonnet: A lyric poem consisting of 14 lines that follow a strict rhyming pattern. There are two types of sonnets :– a) Shakespearean – 12 lines in three alternating rhymes and the last two as a rhyming couplet, i.e. ABABCDCDEFEFGG; and b) Italian – 8 lines rhyming ABBAABBA, and 6 rhyming CDECDE.

Would you have chosen these ten as the main forms of poetry, or would have selected other forms?

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Sunday in September

Today is a Sunday in September, so today I’d like to share a poem entitled ‘Sunday in September’ with you. It’s a poem written by a very dear friend of mine from way back in high school – Maggie Belisle. Maggie is a very talented lady and writes beautiful poetry. This is just one example.

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Sunday in September

Sunday in September, the 26th after the full moon.
First chance I’d had to sit alone and scribble some…
I wander through the crowds. The random remarks drift past.
Older women complaining to husbands
“I shoulda just stayed the Hell Home…”
“now WAITa minute.” the men counter “ I ASKED you if ….”
I walk on..voices fading…
the smells of body sweat, hot dogs,
and powdered sugar on hot grease, oil soaked dough from
“the ever popular Funnel Cakes”
see the proudly strutting males and females
so desperately presenting so much of their bodies..
“Please notice me” they shout silently
Here, among the masses there are magnificent ancient faces
a thousand years in replication farmers,
shepherds, warriors and ladies
They have the strength of endurance, determination…
this wonderful heritage of pride
etched in their faces
their hearts
their eyes.
Something responds.
Something remembered
By firesides and starfilled nights
stone hearths and dirt floors
and blood bonds
of blood feuds…
here together again
after the separation of so many centuries.
We clamor to praise one another
ourselves, our heritage.
We seek to affirm in one another that we are kin
by centuries of survival
the faces of strangers seem familiar.
The sights and sounds all spilling over a multitude
of collective memory…
And when the music plays a thousand hands keep time
a thousand heels stamp out the
pounding of the familiar rhythms.
We know these all by rote by blood by heart
even if we’ve never heard the tune before…
And between the frolic of jigs and reels
there is the squeezbox and the pipes, the whistles
all recalling our tears
a thousand years old
a thousand times shed
a thousand times remembered.
Something survives. Something Endures.
It is Ourselves
Still a People
for heartbreaks of losses and countless struggles borne
Still a nation of wanderers
laughing and singing
while dancing down the days
of too much time
apart

Comments are welcome.

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The Lighter Side of Freelance Writing

Setting freelance writing rates.  (Courtesy Inkygirl.com)

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The Correct Word – Good or Well

The words good and well may be two of the most commonly used words in the English language, but they are also the most confused words. The confusion comes from the similarity in their meanings and the general mix-up between adjectives and adverbs. Let’s look into these:

We all know that adjectives and adverbs are both modifying words – adjectives modify nouns and adverbs modify verbs.

Good is an adjective, which means it modifies a noun. For example: This is a good book. (The adjective good is modifying the noun book).

Well is an adverb. Therefore, it modifies a verb. For example: He writes well. (The adverb well is modifying the verb writes).

This is the general rule and there is hardly any confusion in this. So, where does the confusion arise? Let’s take the similarity in the meanings first.

“He writes well” means “he is good at writing”. It’s the structure of the sentence that differentiates good from well.

Now the confusion between adjectives and adverbs: The reason for the confusion here is that well can be used both as an adverb and as a predicate adjective. In the previous example (He writes well) well is an adverb. Now take the question “How are you?” This can be answered as “I am well”, well here being a predicate adjective (modifying I and am being a linking verb), not an adverb. Hence, the confusion – between a predicate adjective and an adjective. These are taken to be the same, so very often you will hear “I am good” in reply to “How are you?” But this is incorrect, because good is an adjective and cannot be used as an adverb or as a predicate adjective.

Many people say that it is grammatically correct to say “I am good” in reply to “How are you?” Yes, “I am good” is grammatically correct, but not in reply to “How are you?” When you reply to the question, you are referring to your health, how you are feeling; you cannot feel good, you feel well. The time when “I am good” is grammatically correct is when the question is a general one and not specifically relating to your health.  In other words, “I am good” is correct when you mean to say that you are decent, virtuous, or skilful.

Confused? Many people do get confused, that’s why the errors in the use of the words. But if you understand the meanings and uses of these two words, you can never go wrong.

 

Any other thoughts on the use of good and well?

 

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Quotes on Reading

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Writers understand the importance of reading. Following are some quotes by famous writers on reading books:

*  The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it.  ~  James Bryce

*  A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading it.  ~ William Styron

*  It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.  ~ Oscar Wilde

*  Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.  ~ William Hazlitt

*  You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.  ~ Paul Sweeney

*  Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.  It is wholesome and bracing for the mind to have its faculties kept on the stretch.  ~ Augustus Hare

*  The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.  ~ Mark Twain

*  When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.  ~ Clifton Fadiman

*  I love to lose myself in other men’s minds…. Books think for me.  ~ Charles Lamb

*  I find television to be very educating.  Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.  ~ Groucho Marx

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What Not To Do As a Freelance Writer

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The journey of a freelance writer is not smooth – the road is fraught with pot holes and sharp bends. The slightest mistake and you end up in a mess. We’re all humans and we all make mistakes. I, too, have made quite a few in the beginning of my career. But time has made me wiser and I know now how to avoid them. Here’s what I learned –

 

1. Don’t treat writing as a hobby: When you’re working alone from your home, you tend to take things a little lightly – but don’t, because this is the root cause of all mistakes. If you have made writing your career, then treat it like a career – not as a hobby. Treat the people you write for as your clients, not as friends. Make rules for your business and follow them strictly – never break them. Keep records of everything – your clients, your payments, your receipts, your drafts, copies of all the correspondence and written assignments, everything. You never know when you might need them.

2. Don’t procrastinate:  Always reply to all your e-mails as soon as you read them. Never delay, even if your clients are slow in writing. Keep to your deadlines. Your deadlines are your absolute commitments, commitments that should never be broken. Getting things done on time is what makes your reputation, and your reputation is important for the success of your business. It’s what shows your clients how reliable and competent you are. It’s what makes your clients return to you with more assignments.

3. Don’t restrict yourself: By restricting, I mean don’t keep to one kind of writing – diversify to several areas and subjects. This way you’ll never be out of work. If your client wants you to write on a subject that you feel you do not know, or on a genre you haven’t attempted before, don’t refuse. Do research. And by research I do not mean just read one page of reference or explanation, but go to several sources to learn – books, websites, experts in the field, as many sources as you can think of. Clients appreciate writers who are willing to learn. Diversifying opens you up to more market opportunities.  

4. Don’t forget to follow up: Don’t forget your clients once you have completed the assignments. Keep in touch with them through e-mails. If you are one who forgets names, then write them down, but don’t forget to let them know what a pleasure it was working with them and how you look forward to more. You could even suggest a new idea that can prove to be beneficial to the client’s business. The reason for doing this is simple – If you don’t follow up, it won’t be long before they forget who you are.  

 

What lessons have you learned the hard way? Why don’t you share them here with us, so we can all learn from each other’s mistakes?

 

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The Six Traits of Good Writing

Eleven year old child prodigy and internationally published author,  Adora Svitak, talks about good writing. She’s amazing!

 

 

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