Different Types of Poetry

There are many different types of poetry; some poems are short and sweet, while others are long and drawn out. Some poems rhyme, while others do not. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of poetry that exist in the world today. What style do you prefer?


One of the most popular types of poetry is haiku. These poems originated in Japan, and typically consist of three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables. A Haiku is often about nature and is meant to be read quickly but still evoke emotion in the reader.

Free Verse

Free verse is a type of poetry that does not rhyme or have a consistent meter. This type of poetry was popularized in the 20th century by poets such as Ezra Pound and Walt Whitman. Free verse poems often deal with more personal themes than other types of poetry and can be harder to write due to the lack of structure.


Sonnets are a type of poetry that originated in Italy during the Renaissance. They are usually 14 lines long and written in iambic pentameter, meaning each line has ten syllables with an emphasis on every other syllable. Sonnets often have a turn or change in the 14th line, which is called the volta. Shakespeare wrote some of the most famous sonnets in the English language.

Blank Verse

Next, we have blank verse. Blank verse is poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter, meaning it has the same meter as a sonnet but without the rhyme scheme. A lot of Shakespeare’s plays were written in blank verse, as well as Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Narrative Poetry

Narrative poetry is pretty much what it sounds like: a poem that tells a story. It can be any length, and it doesn’t have to rhyme. The Odyssey and Beowulf are both examples of narrative poetry. Some of the longest narrative poems are epics, which are stories that are usually about heroes and their adventures.

Lyric Poetry

Lyric poetry is probably the most common type of poetry; it’s the type of poetry that you usually think of when you think of a ‘poem’. Lyric poetry is usually short (a few lines at most), and it often rhymes. It’s usually about the speaker’s emotions or thoughts, and it often has a musical quality to it.

Epic Poetry

As we alluded to earlier, an epic is a long narrative poem, usually about the adventures of a hero. The Odyssey and Beowulf are both examples of epic poetry. If you’ve not seen these before, The Odyssey is about the hero, Achilles, and his ten-year journey home from the Trojan War. Meanwhile, Beowulf is about a heroic warrior who defeats various monsters.

Both of these poems are written in a formal, elevated style and they both use repetition for effect. They also both use what is called ‘epic conventions’ – these are devices that are often used in epic poetry, such as invocations (where the poet asks for inspiration from a deity), digressions (where the poet steps away from the main story to tell a related story), and epithets (where the poet describes someone or something using a short phrase, such as ‘rosy-fingered dawn’).


Finally, we come to the limerick. This is a short, humorous poem that often uses wordplay and has a rhyme scheme of AABBA. The best-known example of a limerick is probably Edward Lear’s ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’:

Which type of poetry will you explore in more detail? Which is your favorite?