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"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Glossary of Poetic Forms

The following are poetic forms that have appeared in Shot Glass Journal.

Three quatrains, each composed of alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic dimeter rhyming abab. The form takes its name from the fact that it may also be described as a twelve-line poem with three stanzas made up of six English alexandrines (iambic hexameter), two in each stanza. Each alexandrine is broken into two lines of four and two feet, with alternating rhyme at the ends of those lines.

American Sentences
American Sentences is a form pioneered by Allen Ginsberg. It is an americanized short form as sparse and observational as the haiku although it's 17 syllables run across the page on a single line rather than down the page split into three shorter lines, and it's subject matter includes both human and natural phenomenon.

The Arkquain is comprised of 3 stanzas of 4 lines with a syllable count of 1-2-3-4-5-7-7-5-4-3-2-1. The two 7 syllable lines must rhyme and the first and last line use the same word.

An aphorism expresses a general truth in a pithy sentence.

Black out
A found poem where words are crossed out until the poem remains.

Blues Sonnet
A Blues sonnet is an American variation of the traditional sonnet. Written in iambic pentameter it has fourteen lines consisting of four blues stanzas which are rhyming tercets (triplet lines), a volta (a turn or change) after the last tercet, followed by a rhyming heroic couplet. It is derived from the Afro-American tradition of lamentation or complaint in which line two is an incremental repetition of line one and the third line is a climatic parallel.

Bref double
A fourteen-line French form with 3 quatrains and a couplet. All lines should be equal length - which means syllables are of equal length. The scheme consists of three rhymes and 4-5 un-rhymed lines.

Butterfly cinquain
A nine-line syllabic verse of the pattern 2 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 2 / 8 / 6 / 4 / 2.

A short poem, like a tweet, of 140 characters or less.

A Canzone, which means song in Italian, is a type of lyric poetry form. It is an early prototype of the sonnet, but does not have the conventional rhyme scheme. It can be written in various stanzaic lines usually with a concluding envoy.

The Cavatina has alternating rhyming and non-rhyming lines of 10 syllables and 4 syllables. The 10 syllable lines are non-rhyming and the 4 syllable lines rhyme. The lines are repeated at least three (3) times and end with a rhymed ten syllable line couplet. The rhyme scheme xaxa xbxb xcxc, etc. dd., x being unrhymed.

A cento is a work wholly composed of verses or passages taken from other authors; only disposed in a new form or order.

A short verse that tells a story, created by ai li, UK poet and artist. 6 line narrative poem made up of 3 separate strophes. A single line, a couplet and a tercet.

Cinquain is a short, usually unrhymed poem consisting of twenty-two syllables distributed as 2, 4, 6, 8, 2, in five lines

A split poem with the left side as one distinct poem, the right side as one distinct poem and the whole as one poem.

A Welsh form consisting of 32 syllables in 3 couplet stanzas. The first couplet contains eight syllables; the second couplet contains five syllables; the third couplet contains three syllables in each line but it may be written as a single, 6-syllable line. The rhyme scheme is aabbba.

Curtal Sonnet
A sonnet of eleven lines rhyming abcabc dcbdc or abcabc dbcdc with the last line a tail.

A Dorsimbra is made up of three stanza with four lines each. Stanza 1 uses 4 lines of Shakespearean sonnet, which is iambic pentameter rhyming abab. Stanza 2 uses 4 short lines of free verse. Stanza 3 uses 4 lines of blank verse, with the last line repeating the 1st line of the 1st stanza.

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