Creative Writing 101,  Poetry,  Writing World

Unofficial Poetry Styles

Disclaimer: 😀 I took one poetry class in college, for half a semester, and received a B, points off for being difficult, like when I argued that all haikus didn’t have to literally be about nature. I stand behind everything 19-year-old me said. I’m not a poetry expert, but it’s fun to talk about stuff, so this is my understanding of poetry and the verbiage I use to describe different aspects of it. 🙂

Style 1 – Formed/Traditional
Things don’t have to be uniform, but formed poems have a clear pattern, sometimes rhyme, and usually make some kind of sense without having to try too hard. Here you have your haikus and limericks and sonnets and anything else with some kind of traditional structure, like 4-4-2 or even 5-3-1, or whatever, for variety. It doesn’t scatter letters across the page or break up sentences or words. It’s basic form, so I call this just plain poetry, because it’s easily recognized as poetry and not often mistaken for anything else, except maybe song lyrics, which is a kind of formed poetry.

Style 2 – Unformed
This is usually your large blocks of text. I like to call this journaling or rambling kind of poetry, and sometimes vomit poetry. It can be very powerful as it allows you to ramble about something without worrying about sticking to any kind of form. Too much of this is exhausting for me personally, but a random chunk of text can definitely be poetic and is a good way to illustrate tangled thoughts and a sense of drowning or suffocating in open air.

Style 3 – Fractured
I call this Picasso poetry, paint-splatter poetry, or scattered puzzle pieces poetry. This can be super fun and impactful, but there’s something about it that hurts my brain, so I rarely do this myself. These are the poems with sentences broken up into multiple lines. Sometimes we have letters or words scattered across the page or even multiple pages. This a great way to use form to illustrate a point or convey a sense of falling or brokenness or whatever.

Style 4 – Metaphorical
This is the kind of poetry that compares a rotten tree stump to a relationship, and I love me some symbolism! Of course, too much of this and the message or whatever can get lost in all the flowery-ness, but it’s strong and traditional for a reason. Comparison is a great tool, because sometimes people may not understand what depression feels like, but if you compare it to being locked in a dark room stuffed with too many shadows you can’t see, then people can start to imagine. Sometimes I call this flowery poetry, literary poetry, or symbolic poetry.

Style 5 – Literal
This is the IN YO FACE kind of poetry. I call this strong or blunt or raw poetry, depending on how it’s being delivered. In blunt-land, you don’t compare dying love to a wilting flower, you just come out and say “our love died and I hate you for it!” And this can be very visceral and impactful. There’s no mistaking how anyone feels. Of course, too much can this can be overstimulating, but there’s no denying what the poem, or song, is trying to say.

So, these are some types of poetry I come across in Poetry Land and what I call them. Did I miss anything?


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