4 Interesting Poetry Forms and How to Write Them

Hey guys! On Tuesday, we talked a little bit about poetry and how you can begin writing it. If you missed it, you can check it out here!
As promised, today I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the more interesting forms of poetry, as well as share a few of my own.




1. Strikethrough Poetry
Oh, strikethrough poetry. How I love you.
This is a poetry form in which you write a poem and cross out some of the lines. However, the idea is that the lines that are crossed through can still be read, but because you have crossed them out it gives the line an entirely different meaning. Generally the crossed-out lines in strikethrough poetry reflect how the author truly feels, but doesn't want to directly say.
For example, here are the last few lines from a poem of mine titled "Facebook Official."

"Like and comment
'So jealous of you guys'
'So happy for you guys'
Put the phone away
and go to sleep."

As you can see, the crossed-out line is what I want to say, while the line below it is what I say instead. Had I omitted the crossed-out line, it would have taken a lot of meaning away.
Strikethrough poetry is also really good to write when you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or frustrated. While I was compiling my poetry collection, Seasons, I was really stressed and wanted to write a poem to get my frustration out. But, I was so frustrated that I couldn't think of anything! No words were flowing. So I wrote this instead:


"I have typed rewritten these words sentences thoughts
a hundred so many times
that I can’t don’t even know
what I am trying to this poem is supposed to say anymore
I give up"

Here, the crossed-out words convey my frustration and inability to get my thoughts onto paper, while the overall message of the poem itself is that I'm writing about not being able to write.
If you've never tried strikethrough poetry, I definitely suggest giving it a try. It's one of my favorite forms!

2. Concrete poetry
Have you ever read a poem where the words formed a shape or picture? That's concrete poetry! I'm not very good at it, but I have attempted it a few times and found it to be really enjoyable. The idea behind concrete poetry is that your words form a picture that adds extra meaning to the poem. Some concrete poems would make no sense and/or be really boring poems if they didn't form a shape.
For example, here's a concrete poem I created for Seasons that didn't make it into the final cut of the book:

It's a very simple poem; just the phrase "where did all the time go." However, because it's repeated and forms the shape of a ticking clock, it adds a little more meaning to the concept and is also visually pleasing. Kind of. This is definitely not my best arrangement, but hey--I tried.

3. Found poetry
This is a recent concept for me, but so far I've found it to be really interesting and fun!
Found poetry is when you take words that are not your own (such as pieces of articles on the web, paragraphs from books, recipes, receipts, spam emails, etc) and add different breaks in between the lines to try and give it a new meaning. You don't alter the words, but rather take words that were not supposed to be a poem, and turn them into one.
For example, I dug through my spam box and found an email from a dating website offering me a free trial of their site. I added a few different breaks, and came up with this:

What better time to return than now
when it’s February 
and love is in the air?

I never gave up looking
or gave in to loneliness
Look at me now: 
I met my soulmate! 
Isn’t she beautiful?

Again, none of these words are mine and none of them have been altered or changed. I simply just "found" a poem in a spam email by adding breaks. Pretty cool, isn't it? The best part is that you can do this with practically anything!

4. Sestina
Ohhh, sestinas. The poetry form that writers either totally love or totally hate. I was assigned to write a sestina for my Creative Writing II class a few years ago, and it was the first time I had ever even heard the word "sestina."
Basically, a sestina is a form poem in which you pick six words to base a poem around. These six words are the words that will be at the very end of each of your lines. For example we'll use the sestina I wrote for class. My six end words were:

A: Mail
B: Envelopes
C: Loss
D: Words
E: Emotions
F: Death

The sestina has a very specific form, and the words you pick must be the last word of each of these lines, according to the letter your word is attached to. In other words, you have to write a poem with seven stanzas all with six lines each, with the last word of each line following this pattern:

Stanza 1:
A, B, C, D, E, F

Stanza 2:
F, A, E, B, D, C

Stanza 3:
C, F, D, A, B, E

Stanza 4:
E, C, B, F, A, D

Stanza 5: 
D, E, A, C, F, B

Stanza 6: 
B, D, F, E, C, A

Stanza 7:
A, B
C, D
E, F

Each letter is the ending of a different line, I just didn't put each letter on separate lines because then this post would be way longer than it already is!
If you need a better example of a sestina, you can check out mine below. It's not very good, but sestinas are hard!


Condolences
Six cards come in the mail
Dreary in color; white envelopes,
black pen. “So sorry for your loss.”
She opens each carefully, wondering if their words
will stir her emotions
since they have been asleep since his death.

“My condolences.” “I’m terribly sorry.” “Death
is nothing in Christ.” With each opened card, the mail
pile lessens, but inside her emotions
stay dormant as the floor kisses empty envelopes.
She is hollow; no words
can soothe the pain of her loss.

There is something about it—the loss
Something about death
that chills her heart and freezes her senses. Words
mean nothing; no amount of mail
or number of envelopes
will thaw her emotions

allow her to feel with her emotions
breathe with her emotions; relieve the pain of her loss
They are just envelopes
reminders of his death
pieces of mail
that hold nothing but condolence cards and empty, meaningless words.

She feels nothing from words,
not anymore. Not now that her emotions
have died with him; now that the mail
pile has become a constant reminder of her loss
a constant reminder of his death
a constant flow of endless envelopes.

She is so tired of the envelopes
So tired of the words
they hold. So tired of death,
and emotions,
and loss,
and the mail.
  
Only one card comes in the mail. Just a few words,
strung together on paper and sealed within an envelope. They still stir no emotions;
hers was far too great of a loss. Nothing will ever repair the damage left from death.

As you can see, the end words all follow the pattern of the sestina that I wrote about above. At least, I hope it does. Sestinas can be very confusing, you know.

So there you have it! Four interesting poetry forms for you to try your hand at. If you attempt a sestina, I would love to read it! (Or any of these forms, for that matter!)
Do you have any poetry forms you just love? Let me know in the comments!

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