Types of Poems


1. A haiku poem has three lines and 17 syllables.

Haiku poetry began almost 1000 years ago in Japan. Haiku poetry does not have to rhyme but it does have to follow a certain pattern for the number of lines and syllables. Titles are subtle, but the poem always describes something about nature. Sensory details are very important. Must be written in present tense.

Lines 1 has five syllables.
Line 2 has seven syllables.
Line 3 has five syllables



An icy wind blows
The tree is lonely and cold
Its branches are bare.

by Karleen O'Connor

Want to see more Haiku poems? Click here.

Winnie the Pooh Haiku (do not submit a poem here)


2. A quatrain has four lines.

Lines 1 and 3 rhyme.
Lines 2 and 4 rhyme.
Rhyming lines should have about the same number of syllables.

Lines 1 and 2 rhyme.
Lines 3 and 4 rhyme.
Rhyming lines should still be about the same length.


High in the bright blue sky
A bird soared silently on the breeze
I saw him as he flew by
And wondered how he flew with such ease.

Examples of Quatrain Poems
More Examples of Quatrain Poems


3. A cinquain has five lines.

Line 1 is one word (the title).
Line 2 is two words that describe the title.
Line 3 is three words that tell action.
Line 4 is four words that express feeling.
Line 5 is one word that recalls the title


Blowing, falling, piling,
Excitement - maybe no school!

More about Cinquain poems - click here. (do not submit a poem here)
See Cinquains written by students - click here.


4. A limerick has five lines.

Edward Lear (1812-1888) made limericks popular kinds of poems. Some people think that limericks were first written in the town of Limerick, Ireland.
The limerick has 5 lines; the 3rd & 4th lines are shorter than the others.
Lines 1, 2, and 5 have seven to ten syllables and rhyme with one another.
Lines 3 and 4 have five to seven syllables and also rhyme with each other.


There once was a seed in the sky.
That rode on the wind way up high.
The wind did die down.
Dropped the seed on the ground.
A flower will grow by and by.

5. A diamante poem is shaped like a diamond.

Click here to learn about a diamonte poem. diamond

More diamante poems.
More about Diamonte Poems (do not submit a poem here)


6. A couplet poem has rhyming stanzas, each made up of two lines.

A stanza is a group of lines together in a poem. In a couplet poem, each stanza has only two lines and they rhyme with each other.


Across the sky they seem to flow
As wind and currents gently blow.

The cumulus clouds in the sky,
Fluffy, white, and ever so high.

Their shapes and forms are most complex
Numbering at least a googolplex.

by Rebecca Wiggins

7. An acrostic poem spells a word downward.

The word acrostic is from the Greek for "end line," this is a multiple line poem that spells a word downwards. Usually written about oneself in either phrases or list form.



Takes a
Stomach to
Handle this mess.


Now, make sure that in your notebook, you've written information of each of the 7 types of poems listed here. Be sure you understand how each poem is constructed.
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This webquest page created by Susan Orton Cooper
April 2002