Poetry is the expression of self, emotions, thoughts and views. While the content, length, complexity and creativity of a poem are determined by you, there are many common poetry styles and elements to guide you as you structure your poem. You can add depth and texture to a poem by using concrete, descriptive words, sensory details -- such as sight, sound and taste -- and metaphors or similes that compare your subject to other common objects.
Originating in Japan, the Haiku is a simple form of poetry that centers around the subject of nature or nature-related themes. A Haiku is made up of three lines. There are five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line and five syllables in the third line, with a total of 17 syllables all together.
In an Acrostic poem, the first letter in each line is aligned vertically to spell out a word. This word is often the subject of the poem. The proceeding letters and words in each line are used to describe the subject of the poem. For example, if you were to write a poem with the subject of a girl named Karen, you would align the letters of the name vertically and then proceed to use each letter as the first letter of a word that describes “Karen.”
Depending on your content and audience, you may consider using concrete poetry as a method of expressing your subject matter. Concrete poetry involves structuring words and lines of the poem that follow the contour or outline of a shape, usually depicting an idea or object suggested in the poem’s content. If you were to write a poem about a tree, for example, you could align the words in short, even segments vertically to represent the trunk of the tree, and then longer, contoured lines to represent the tree’s branches.
Free verse poetry is a cathartic form of writing that involves no particular rhyming pattern, meter or structure. Emphasis and meaning may be expressed by the use of punctuation, the change in length of each line or in the sentence structure and word use. In this type of poetry, you are free to determine which words are capitalized, how the poem is structured and how the subject and details will flow throughout the piece.
Rhyming is often used in many different styles of poetry, including traditional poetic styles, such as sonnets. Creative Writing Now, an information website for writers, explains that rhyming is used for several reasons. For example, rhyme adds an element of rhythm and music to a poem, which can be pleasing to listen to. It also creates a sense of fluidity and connection between two or more lines in the poem, which can deepen the meaning and imagery of the poem and keep the reader engaged.
Rhyming schemes can include true rhymes, or words that are exactly alike--such as “cat” and “bat“--, or off-rhyme, wherein the vowel sounds are similar, but the rhyme is not exact--like “road” and “tone.” Rhyme patterns can also vary. For example, the first line might rhyme with the third line and the second line with the fourth line. Or, the first line might rhyme with the last line and the middle two lines may not rhyme at all.