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Forms found at Poetry Base/Poetry Gnosis

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Invented Forms

Poetry Base/Poetry Gnosis is a "resource for learning and teaching poetry." This seems to be one of the more popular resource sites, it probably touches on a broader spectrum of poetry than most others. Although I often see duplication from site to site, there is always something exclusive to each site. On this page I include invented forms found at Poetry Base that I have not found elsewhere or it appears the form was initiated from this site.

(Several years ago when I first started exploring the internet for new poetic forms, I discovered a web site by The Dread Poet Roberts' which had a plethora of information about writing and reading poetry. It was one of my early inspirations. The web site disappeared a few years ago or was moved and I can't find it. But, some of the information has been brought forward to the Poetry Base and I was pleased to discover the information was not lost but passed on. And in the tradition of passing it forward, I include some of the forms created by the infamous Dread Poet Roberts on this page.)

  • The Bio Poem is an invented form found at Poetry Base that was probably created as a classroom teaching tool. It becomes a poetic biography.  The elements of the Bio Poem are:
    1. 11 lines.
    2. unmetered. The line is at the discretion of the poet.
    3. rhymed or unrhymed at the discretion of the poet.
    4. written about someone's life, fictional or nonfictional. The lines follow a set formula to describe:

      L 1 first name of the subject
      L 2 4 words to describe subject
      L 3 Brother or sister of ….. name siblings
      L4 Lover of ,,,,,name 3 things or people subject loves
      L5 Who feels --- about 3 subjects
      L6 Who needs... 3 things
      L7 Who gives... 3 things
      L8 Who fears... 3 things
      L9 Who would like to see...
      L10 Resident of ….
      L11 subjects last name

      Here is a free verse "Bio Poem" that steps outside the frame of the verse form above but attempts to capture the intent of the form.

      Marguerite Johnson, A Caged Bird No More by Judi Van Gorder

      Poet-writer, dancer, daughter-mother, civil rights activist, renaissance woman
                             little brother called her Maya.
      Lover of books, freedom and human dignity,
              refused to step off the sidewalk,
                     she danced, she sang, she wrote
                           she composed her own rules
      Read her words and listen to her song,
      Like her ancestors, she has conquered.
      Her eyes would see a new world free of hatred, selfishness and bigotry.
      The globe is her home, California her refuge.

      Maya Angelou is the voice of a people,
                        the fulfillment of the slaves' dreams.

  • The Cameo, created by Alice Spokes of England, is a verse form which appears to be exercises in rhythm. Found at Poetry Base. it varies only in syllable count with Cadence found in Pathways for the Poet. The elements of the Cameo are:
    1. a heptastich, a poem in 7 lines.
    2. syllabic, 2-5-8-3-8-7-2 syllables per line.
    3. unrhymed, but end words should be strong.

      Beef Steak by Judi Van Gorder

      Dead steer
      lying on the road.
      A pickup came around the bend
      much too fast
      when the old animal wandered
      through the break in the wire fence.
      Road kill.

  • The Coin Poem is an invented verse form found at Poetry Base. It is named for its similarity to the flip of a coin. The elements of the Coin Poem are:
    1. a short poem, 2 couplets, the first couplet presents a thought and the second couplet flips it and shows the other side.
    2. syllabic, each couplet is made up of a 7 and a 5 syllable line.
    3. rhymed, ab cb or aa bb.

      ATM by Judi Van Gorder

      A crisp twenty dollar bill
      ATM cash mill
      Bank fee charged on funds of mine
      valued ten and nine.

  • The Côte is an invented form that is constructed of uneven couplets. It is attributed to Johnn Schroeder and found at Poetry Base. Why it carries the name Côte, which is French for coast, I have yet to figure out. The elements of the Côte are:
    1. stanzaic, it may be written in any number of couplets.
    2. structured as an uneven couplet, L1 being a single imperative verb, L2 is a glossing or expansion of L1.
    3. written with meter and rhyme at the discretion of the poet.

      The Sea Dreamer by Judi Van Gorder

      exploring the seascape of the mind.
      tapping first the soul and then the skill.
      into the horizon of possibilities.

  • Count Down and its counterpart the Count Up are simple syllabic verse. Both were found at Poetry Base  The elements of the Count Down and the Count Up are:
    1. written in 10 lines each.
    2. unrhymed.
    3. syllabic,
      • Count Down, the syllable count decreases, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 syllable per line.
      • Count Up the syllable count progresses up 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 syllables per line.
  • The Deten has a unique rhyme scheme. It was created by Johnn Schroeder and can be found at Poetry Base.  The elements of the Deten are:
    1. a 15 line poem made up of 3 cinquains.
    2. meter at the discretion of the poet. Iambic pentameter is suggested, but tetrameter or sprung rhythm would also work. It might be interesting to use the Crapsey Cinquain syllabic frame 2-4-6-8-2.
    3. rhymed abcab decde fgcfg.

      Rhyming Lines by Judi Van Gorder

      It's not easy
      writing lines that rhyme.
      The words should sparkle and glisten,

      In truth,
      it takes some work
      to capture the sublime.
      The poet must become a sleuth,
      not shirk.

      We sing
      a little poem
      in images of time,
      a song of love with hope to bring
      it home.

  • Double Five is a flexible verse form that paints the portrait of a loved one. It was featured in Sol magazine and found at Poetry Base. It would be a nonce form other than it does specify the stanza and poem length.  The elements of the Double Five are:
    1. stanzaic, written in 2 quintains.
    2. metered at the discretion of the poet.
    3. rhymed at the discretion of the poet.
    4. titled with the name of the subject of the poem.
  • The Johnn is an invented verse form created by and named for American poet Johnn Schoeder. The form has the unique feature of placing the title of the poem before each stanza. The form was found at Poetry Base.  The elements of the Johnn are:
    1. a 15 line poem made up of 3 cinquains.
    2. syllabic, L2,L5,L11,L15 2 syllables each, L2,L4,L12,L14 3 syllables each, L3,L6,L10,L13 4 syllables each, L7,L9 6 syllables each, L8 8 syllables.
    3. unrhymed.
    4. composed with the title of the poem separates each stanza.


      x x
      x x x
      x x x x
      x x x
      x x


      x x x x
      x x x x x x
      x x x x x x x x
      x x x x x x
      x x x x


      x x
      x x x
      x x x x
      x x x
      x x

  • Kyrielle Dialogue is one American variation on the French Kyrielle. Unlike the narrative Kyrielle, this verse invented by "The Dread Poet Robert" is dramatic, using two voices or characters. Actually the only thing this verse form has in common with the Kyrielle is it is written in quatrains with 8 syllable lines and refrain.  The elements of the Kyrielle Dialogue are:
    1. dramatic, 2 characters or voices create a dialogue.
    2. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains (at least 3). the characters or voices alternate quatrains.
    3. syllabic, 8 syllable lines.
    4. composed with a refrain, the refrain alternates with the characters.
    5. rhymed, optional rhyme scheme abaB cdcD ebeB fdfD ect or aaaA bbbB cccA dddB etc caps are alternating refrains from 2 different characters or voices.
  • Kyrielle Hymn is a recent stanzaic form that is a variation of the 16th century, English Hymnal Measure. From the name, one could assume this American invented form was a variation of the Middle Ages verse form the Kyrielle. But, the only thing it has in common with the Kyrielle is they both have a refrain.  The elements of the Kyrielle Hymn are:
    1. lyrical.
    2. stanzaic, written in any number of cinquains.
    3. metered, L1,L3,L5 iambic tetrameter, L2,L4 iambic trimeter.
    4. composed with refrain, the 5th line of each stanza is a refrain.
    5. rhyme, rhyme scheme ababR cdcdR etc. R being the refrain which need not rhyme with other end words in the stanza.
  • The Seicinque is a stanzaic invented form turned on 2 rhymes and attributed to Linda Pentney.  The elements of the Seicinque are:
    1. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
    2. syllabic, 6-5-5-5 syllables per line.
    3. rhyme, xABa xABa xABa etc x being unrhymed.
    4. composed with L2 and L3 repeated as a refrain.
  • The Sept is a simple invented form patterned after the number 7.  The elements of the Sept are:
    1. a heptastich, a poem in 7 lines.
    2. syllabic, 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 syllables in each line.
    3. unrhymed.
  • Septet II is an invented form using the 7 lines of the septet and adding a syllable count to the lines. Its origin is England according to Poetry Base. The elements of the Septet II are:
    1. stanzaic, written in any number of septets, (7 line stanzas).
    2. syllabic, 3-5-7-9-7-5-3 lines.
    3. unrhymed or rhyme at the discretion of the poet.

      Blackberry Patch by Judi Van Gorder

      along the roadway
      cardboard paths wind through brambles
      where locals freely come to pick sweet
      berries from the prickly vines.
      Purple juices stain
      my fingers.

  • The Sheshire is an invented verse form by Jewish-American poet Charles David Lipsig found at Poetry BaseThe name comes from Hebrew six=shesh and poem=shir.  The elements of the Sheshire are:
    1. a poem of 20 lines made up of 3 sixains followed by a couplet.
    2. isosyllabic except the last line which includes the the # of syllables as the previous lines plus a finishing phrase separated from the base line by caesura.
    3. rhymed, rhyme scheme ababab cdcdcd efefef gg or abcabc defdef ghighi jj.
    4. composed with a pivot or change of tone from stanza to stanza and ends with a note of irony.
  • Soft Songed Tercet is an invented verse form found at Poetry Base that has an unusual request, the verse must have a "soft feel".  The elements of the Soft Songed Tercet are:
    1. a tristich, a poem in 3 lines. When written in more than one tercet the form is oddly named the Soft Songed Triplet. ("Tercet" is 3 line unit as is a "triplet", both of which can be written in any number within a poem. The words are often used interchangeably however, the classic English "triplet" is usually monorhymed. So technically the name Soft Songed Tercet properly should apply to both a single tristich or the stanzaic form of any number of tercets.)
    2. metered, iambic, L1 &L3 are trimeter, L2 is hexameter.
    3. rhymed, rhymed a(bb)a L2 has internal rhyme.
    4. composed with an unusual image.
    5. composed with a "soft feel".

      x x x x x a
      x x x x x b x x x x x b
      x x x x x a

      Furry Fix by jvg

      Silky fluff warms my palm
      as I cup a small plump rabbit waiting to jump
      free. Its fine fur a balm.

  • The Teddy Poem is a thematic genre of poetry built around the theme of Teddy Bears. These cute poems are structured at the discretion of the poet and are written for children and the young at heart.

    To take the genre to the next level, it is also an invented verse form created by the American poet, The Dread Poet Roberts. The adventures of Theodore E. Bear or "Teddy" to his friends, is always the topic of the poem and the poem always begins with the line "Many, many years ago when Teddy was much younger than today..." or some variation of it.  The elements of the verse form, Teddy Poem are:

    1. a poem in 20 lines, made up of 3 sixains and a concluding couplet.
    2. metered, all lines are Alexandrine lines.
    3. rhymed, scheme aabbcc ddeeff hhiijj hh.
    4. always opens with Many, many years ago when Teddy was much younger than today..." or some variation of it and is built around the theme of the adventures of Theodore E. Bear.
  • The Trio, is an invented form that I found at Poetry Base, attributed to Sol Magazine. It is a nonce triplet, meaning the form was created for a particular poem. No articles or punctuation are used and the poem has as few words as possible. The only example given is a classic triplet. This seems more like a word exercise to me than poetry. This is very similar to the Brevette. The elements of theTrio are:
    1. a classic triplet, 3 mono-rhymed lines. However I think it would be just fine to break ranks and write an unrhymed tercet as long as the progression was clever.
    2. written in as few words as possible with no articles or punctuation.
      --- (sorry)-jvg

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