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Ballad

A popular narrative song passed down orally. In the English tradition, it usually follows a form of rhymed (abcb) quatrains alternating four-stress and three-stress lines. Folk (or traditional) ballads are anonymous and recount tragic, comic, or heroic stories with emphasis on a central dramatic event

Elegy

In traditional English poetry, it is often a melancholy poem that laments its subject’s death but ends in consolation.

Free Verse

Nonmetrical, nonrhyming lines that closely follow the natural rhythms of speech. A regular pattern of sound or rhythm may emerge in free-verse lines, but the poet does not adhere to a metrical plan in their composition.

Ode

A formal, often ceremonious lyric poem that addresses and often celebrates a person, place, thing, or idea. Its stanza forms vary.

Cento

A poem consisting only of lines from other poems. This, from the Italian word for patchwork, is almost a technique rather than a form, especially as it can be of any length, and any metre, and need not rhyme; however, as the finished poem is referred to as a cento, just as a sonnet is called a sonnet, it is a form.

Epic

A long narrative poem in which a heroic protagonist engages in an action of great mythic or historical significance.

Haiku

A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression.

Sonnet

The sonnet is a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter, which employ one of several rhyme schemes and adhere to a tightly structured thematic organization.
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