ballad
This was a narrative originally spoken or sung. It usually: is simple, employs dialogue, repetition, minor characterization, is written in quatrains, has a basic rhyme scheme (abcb), has a refrain which adds to its song-like quality.

Lyric
Highly personal and emotional – can be as simple as a sensory impression or as elevated as an ode or elegy. Subjective and melodious, it is often reflective in tone. (Ex: A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns)

Ode
Formal lyric poem that addresses subjects of elevated stature. (Ex: ___ to the West Wind by Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Elegy
Formal lyric poem written in honor of one who has died (the root word is an adjective that describes a work lamenting any serious loss) (Ex: Adonais to mourn the loss of John Keats)

Dramatic Monologue
Relates an episode in a speaker’s life through a conversational format that reveals the character of the speaker (Ex: Porphyria’s Lover by Robert Browning)

Sonnet
Most popular fixed form in poetry. Usually written in iambic pentameter and is always made up of 14 lines. Two basic forms: Italian or Petrarchan and the English or Shakespearan. Each adheres to a strict rhyme scheme and stanza form. Matter of these poems varies greatly, from expressions of love to philosophical considerations, religious declarations, or political criticisms. Highly polished, and the strictness of its form complements the complexity of its subject matter. Always have 14 lines.

Italian sonnet
Type of sonnet divided into an octave and a sestet. Rhyme scheme is abbaabba cdecde.

Shakespearean sonnet
Type of sonnet split into 3 quatrains and a couplet. The 3 quatrains posses the beginning, middle and end – thesis, example, example – past, present, future – morning, noon, night – birth, life, death. The couplet contains a summary – conclusion – universal statement.

Villanelle
Fixed form in poetry. It has 6 stanzas: 5 tercets and a final quatrain. It utilizes 2 refrains: The 1st and last lines of the first stanza alternate as the last line of the next 4 stanzas and then form a final couplet in the quatrain. (Ex: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas or The Art of Losing by Elizabeth Bishop)

Narrative
tells stories

Ballads
simple narratives

Lyric
subjective and emotional

Odes
Formal lyrics that honor something or someone

Elegies
Lyrics that mourn a loss

Dramatic monologues
converse with the reader as they reveal events

Sonnet
14 line form of poetry

Villanelle
fixed form that depends on refrains