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15 Distinct Poetry Styles For NaPoWriMo

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Greetings and felicitations! Poetry is an incredible art form, potentially the best, and has many various rules and forms which any poet of any caliber can explore. There are over 50 types of different poetic forms and in today's blog, we're highlighting 15.

For NaPoWriMo, the Poetry Cove wants to accelerate the creative process.

Therefore, we're calling on all of you Poetry Covers to drop a poem for each style, explored in this blog, in the commentary box below.

Remember to have fun and explore this diverse and sophisticated art form.

Poetry is ancient and revered.

Human kind's rhythmic speech patterns are as old as language itself.

This vast incredible form of expression has many forms, rules, and styles.

This is the result of years of consideration and evolution.

Table of Contents


An Acrostic Poem is a fun and cryptic form of poetry. This form is both vertical and horizontal.

If you are a fan of deciphering secreted messages like steganography the acrostic poetic form is for you.

Acrostic form takes the first letter of each line of the poem and spells a message vertically.

As a poet, you can synergize the secret message with the overall theme of your poem.

Look here for famous examples of Acrostic poems.


A ballad is a poem structured on a story-like, narrative telling.

They're usually formed in a sequence of short rhymed quatrain stanzas.

There are different rhyming schemes:

ABAB/BCBC, or, ABAB/ABCB, or, AABA scheme.

They are themed on either comedic, heroic, or dramatic retelling of a single historical event.

Ballads were once accompanied by music, and are since referred to as 'dance songs'.

Ballads were a popular art form in Ireland and Britain from the late middle ages until the 1800s.

Ballads have their tradition as an oral legacy telling stories from generation to generation.

The Renaissance era celebrated the ballad.

However, it has its origins in medieval poetry.

Particularly in the French medieval time as chanson balladée.

Beowulf is a famous Scandinavian and Germanic form of a ballad.

Ballads are characterized by a lilting cadence, that espouses are nostalgic narrative.

Other famous ballads here.

Blank Verse

Blank verse is poetry written with no rhyming scheme in iambic pentameter.

The focus of blank verse is that it has rhythmic form in meter and not rhymes.

This is an incredibly sophisticated and subtle poetic form.

The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables dictates the cadence of the poem.

Blank verse can have any number of lines. This is a poetic style for narrative poems and verse drama.

Look here for the difference between blank verse and free verse.

Blank verse is a very structured and disciplined type of poetry.

Here are examples of famous poems written in blank verse.

Cinquain Poetry

A cinquain is a poem structured on five lines.

This form was created by Adelaide Crapsey and inspired by haiku and tankas.

Cinquain has a specific set of syllabic structures (22 in each poem): Syllables per line.

Cinquains have different rhyming schemes like ABABB, ABAAB, or ABCCB.

Here's how to write a cinquain.

There are different variations of cinquains. Each is governed by there own rules.

The Different Variations of Cinquain

Butterfly Cinquain- This is a nine-line, usually unrhymed poem.

It takes the syllabic form of a cinquain and reverses it.

Its basic form:

Each number is a syllable per line.

Crown Cinquain- This is comprised of five cinquain stanzas that operate as one poem.

Garland Cinquain- is built on six cinquain stanzas whereby the last stanza is formed by one line belonging to each of the previous stanzas.

Mirror Cinquain- This is a form of poetry that is comprised of two cinquain stanzas. The last stanza has reversed syllable structure.

Reversed Cinquain- This is a one-stanza cinquain whose syllabic structure is written in reverse to a traditional cinquain.

Examples of Cinquains:


Elegy in poetic form is a lamentation.

This form reflects with a somber attitude the passing of lives lived.

Elegies tackle existential quandaries and observe these in melancholic ruminations.

Elegy adopts grave considerations in its tone, themes, and overall subject matter.

There is a commemorative quality to elegy. The subject of the poem is frequently treated with reverence and homage.

Ekphrastic Poetry

Ekphrastic or Ekphrasis is a Greek term, that translates to description.

This class of poetic style describes art in vivid and dramatic detail.

It relays how the narrator of the piece is impacted by the artwork. Ekphrastic uses imaginative language.

The poet highlights the experience granted by the canvas in descriptive and incisive commentary.

There are no set rules to Ekphrastic poetry.

Here are examples of Ekphrasis.


Epic-style poetry is an elongated narrative that details the heroic and extraordinary actions of a protagonist.

The events are adventurous and relayed in a third person, omnipotent voice with many varied geographic backdrops.

Epic poetry has its origins in the first fictional accounts in the dawn of human civilization (an age forgotten)- Sumeria, the Indus Valley, and the Mycenean.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, Mahâbhârata, Iliad and The Odyssey are famous examples of Epic poetry.

Often in Epic poetry, a muse is invocated to strengthen the resolve of the heroic protagonist.

The characters of epic poetry are god-like, and the protagonist has to confront these gods in innumerable ways.

These confrontations illustrate the superior qualities of the protagonist.

However, frequently the protagonist reveals himself to be more flawed and human.

This makes for dramatic, engaging, and enthralling storytelling.

Epic form is written in dactylic hexameter.

Free Verse

Free verse or vers libre doesn't conform to the strictures of metric form or has a rhyming scheme.

Free verse focuses on the natural swing and sway of our innate speech pattern.

Free verse employs techniques like parallelism and repetition to maintain form.

The pitch and tone of our inherent language use in free verse has instinctual and automatic flow and form.

Free verse is a challenging form to master.


Haiku is an ancient form of Japanese poetry.

Its short and simple form is structured on syllables:


It's said that the syllabic form is meant to reflect the incredible discipline of growing bonsais.

Haiku generally represent the mechanics of nature.

Here's how to write a haiku.


A limerick is a five-lined poem that is humorous.

The humor in limericks is emphasized by the sing-song pattern of rhymes.

Additionally, limericks are only one stanza long.

The short stanza is another technique of limericks that keeps it cheeky, light, and funny.

The rhyming scheme is AABBA.

Here are famous examples of limericks.

Narrative Poetry

The story-like feature of narrative poetry is told from the voice of different characters and of the main narrator.

Narrative poetry is written in metered verse.

This poetic style includes epic, ballads, and pastoral poetry or idylls.

The narrative poetic form combines all features of prose storytelling.

Features like plot development, character, dialogue, and intrigue- yet it uses meter to maintain rhythm.

In narrative storytelling the timeline is linear.

The sequence of events has a clear beginning, middle, and end in logical order.

This is different from lyric poetry which details events suspended in time.

Narrative poetry is often in the form of verse novel.

This style can adopt complex or simple stanzas.

Here are examples of Narrative Poetry. How to write a Narrative Poem- Here.


An ode is a type of lyrical poetry that pays homage to an individual, ideal, location, or event.

An ode is written in a formal tone with undercurrents of ritual observance and ceremony.

Frequently, an ode is written for public recognition in which the subject is held in high regard.

A classical ode is divided into three sections:

Here's how to write an ode.


A sonnet is a 14 lined poem written in iambic pentameter.

Sonnets have remained a well-appreciated poetic form for centuries and still hold wide appeal today.

There are two main types of sonnets from which others develop.

The Italian Petrarchan and the Shakespearean.

The Italian Petrarchan sonnet is named after the poet Petrarch and adheres to a firmly formed rhyming scheme:


The Shakespearean sonnet- named after renowned playwright William Shakespeare follows a unique rhyming scheme:


Shakespearean sonnet is also distinct as it has three quatrains and a couplet at the end.

John Donne and John Milton also wrote sonnets.

How to write a sonnet here.


Tanka is another form of traditional Japanese poetry.

Tanka is a 31 syllable poem and is an extension of Haiku:

Tanka's were predominant in the imperial court and served couples during their courtship. The themes focused on love.

Similar to sonnets, tankas have a pivotal moment.

Otherwise referred to as a pivotal image.

A pivotal image in the poem denotes the transition in tone from a look at a visual representation to an emotional portrayal.

A personalized response to the beginning of the poem.

The pivotal image is delineated in the third line of the poem.

This joins the kami-no-ku, or upper poem, with the shimo-no-ku, or lower poem.

Examples of tanka- Here and How to write a tanka- Here


Villanelles are a tightly structured form of poetry that was once celebrated as dance poems.

The villanelle poetic form is comprised of five three-lined stanzas or tercets.

This is then followed by a quatrain of two repeating with two repeating lines and two refrains.

Villanelle- five tercets and one quatrain

The nineteen-lined poem is built on two repeating lines and two refrains.

The first line of the first stanza is repeated in the last line of the second and fourth stanzas.

The third line of the last stanza is repeated in the last line of the third and fifth stanzas.

The villanelle has no regulated meter. How to Write a villanelle- Here and famous examples of villanelles- Here.

A very big thank you to all of my fellow Poetry Covers for your incredible support, friendship, and love. To Ken, Scarlette, Suchita, Shen, and my fellow future bloggers, I'm so thrilled to have shared this space with you.

To Adam Gary, I sincerely can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve done for me and my little channel. I’m going to see you all around on the cove- very soon!

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Rob Edwards
Rob Edwards
Apr 18, 2022

The Painting

Virginal purity, means all to me

I paint your pale visage, I prop you up

Robed in white, your black hair shines wanly

Grimacing waif like lady fills my cup

Inside my melting mind your still alive

Now your gaze looks over your right shoulder

Inky eyebrows frame your protruding eyes

Amplified feelings for my cousin here

Eliza loved me true til' her demise

Lover true now you are forever young

Inside our tomb you tarry for me now

Zenith of a true lady with dried lungs

Are you waiting for blessing to endow?

Clemm this pale portrait of you, I will keep

Look at your beauty most every day

Evenly dry your flowers when I weep


Rob Edwards
Rob Edwards
Apr 20, 2022
Replying to

I'm practicing for my gig on Sunday after a chill out for my birthday today ☺ hope to see you about on YouTube?


Shen Friebe
Shen Friebe
Apr 16, 2022

Bloody fantastic! Can't wait to try some of these- especially those cinquains, acrostics and ballads!

As I mentioned earlier, you really are a gem, Garish! You have enriched the Cove with your expertise and guidance. All the best and we'll see you around, dear friend!

Apr 20, 2022
Replying to

Thanks my friend your kind words are wonderful too hear! Thank you for reading my piece! Lots of love 💕


Suchita Senthil Kumar
Suchita Senthil Kumar
Apr 15, 2022

I've been trying to expand my poems in terms of their form and styles so I'm beyond thankful for this post. The way you explain these poetic forms in a short and meaningful manner makes it seem less daunting. I can't wait to try some of these. Beautiful graphics. Wonderful post as always my friend! ❤

Apr 20, 2022
Replying to

Thanks Sweet Suchita! I always find your comments so encouraging. Much love my special friend!💖


Adam Gary
Adam Gary
Apr 14, 2022

A wonderful send off post GG! Thank you for all the time and effort you have put into all your posts! Will miss your ethereal analysis posts! I hope to see you around again soon! 🖤

Apr 14, 2022
Replying to

Aww Adam🤗 Thank you for everything my friend. You‘ve offered so much to me in innumerable ways!! As a poet, performer and analyst.This time has been invaluable to me.

I can’t thank you enough for this INCREDIBLE opportunity and friendship. Many blessings dear Adam! See you on the cove soon


Marc  Brimble
Marc Brimble
Apr 14, 2022

Thanks mate, I needed this right now.

Apr 14, 2022
Replying to

Great Marc! Thanks for taking the time out to read this! its always great to connect with you!

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