'Writing Guidelines for 16 Forms of Poetry' 

Worksheet 1-A (Data Collections)

On this page you will find 16 different kinds of poetry. There are many more, but these are the more common types that you will see. 

Do Tasks 1, 2, & 3 : Put all 3 assignments together and label them Center #1. 

Task # 1  Read the INSTRUCTIONS for numbers 1 and 2 Below and choose ONE to do as your assignment. Please look over the other forms of poetry as well. 

1. Phrase Poem / MY YEAR IN ---- GRADE ~~ Reflect back on your year in _____ grade. Think of short phrases describing special events that you have enjoyed. Write a "phrase poem" about your experiences.


 2. I DON'T UNDERSTAND POEM Begin this poem with the words "I don't understand." Write a poem that lists several things you don't understand about the world, yourself, or other people. These can be serious or silly things. End your poem with something you DO understand.

(Do not copy these poems, please brainstorm to come up with your own ideas).  


Task # 2  Go to the Types of Poetry site and find one example poem of a Haiku and a Cinquain style of poem.  Print them out.

Task # 3  Find one kind of poem that is not listed below.  Write or print an example of how it is written along with a sample poem.  


3. Couplet - a two-line poem with a simple rhyming pattern. Couplets are often silly.

Line of poetry that rhymes with line 2           
Line of poetry that rhymes with line 1

4. Cinquain - a five-line poem consisting of five, usually unrhymed lines containing two, four, six, eight and two syllables.  

Line 1 – One word title                                       
Line 2 – Two descriptive words
Line 3 – Three action words
Line 4 – Four feeling words
Line 5 – one word, which answers the question, “When I think of the title, I think of…?”


 5. Diamonte - a diamond-shaped poem of seven lines that is written using parts of speech.  The Diamonte is a form similar to the Cinquain.

Line 1: Noun or subject 
Line 2: Two Adjectives
Line 3: Three 'ing' words
Line 4: Four words about the subject
Line 5: Three 'ing words
Line 6: Two adjectives
Line 7: Synonym for the subject


6. Free Verse - poetry without rules of form, rhyme, or rhythm.  Writing in any way the author chooses to write.


7. Haiku - an ancient Japanese form with no rhyme. Haiku often deal with nature.

Line 1 – has 5 syllables     
Line 2 – has 7 syllables
Line 3 – has 5 syllables


8. Tanka -  Tanka is another Japanese form that depends on the number of lines and syllables instead of rhyme.

        Line 1 - 2 words
        Line 2 - 3 words
        Line 3 - 2 words
        Line 4 - 3 words
        Line 5 - 3 words


 9. The Five W's Poem - Who? What? When? Where? Why? Use these questions to write a non-rhyming poem. Here's how:

Line 1 - Who or what is the poem about
Line 2 - What action is happening?
Line 3 - When does the action take place? (a time)
Line 4 - Where does the action take place? (a place)
Line 5 - Why does this action happen? (a reason)


10. List - One descriptive word follows another.


11. Triplet - a poem of three lines. Most often the three lines rhyme. Some triplets have only two rhymed lines with different patterns.


12. Quatrain – has four line stanza with repeating pattern.

(abab)                         (aabb)                       (abba)
Lines 1 and 3 rhyme                 Lines 1 and 2 rhyme             Lines 1 and 4 rhyme
Lines 2 and 4 rhyme                Lines 3 and 4 rhyme             Lines 2 and 3 rhyme


13.  Limerick - a very short but funny poem. There is a rhyme and rhythm pattern that makes it flow smoothly.

           Lines 1, 2, and 5 - rhyme and have eight to ten syllables
          Lines 3 and 4 - rhyme and have five to seven syllables


14.  Simile - poetry is a descriptive poem about the writer. The child may write four lined poems of one or two verses, which need not rhyme.


15. Acrostic Alliteration - the first letters of each line, when read vertically, spell out a word.

T – Descriptive words
I – Descriptive words
T – Descriptive words
L – Descriptive words
E – Descriptive words


  16.  Acrostic - the first letters of each line, when read vertically, spell out a word.

N – Descriptive words
A – Descriptive words
M – Descriptive words
E – Descriptive words


You may need to refer back to this page for other activities.  


  Developed By:  Marian Nelson, Nov. 2002, PCSD

This site was created and intended for educational use only.  Last update: May 5, 2003.