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ENG 125 - Creative Writing: Poetry

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to practice the art of creative writing.

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Poetry Defined

Definition:  Writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm. Poetry can be written in verse (metrical), "which is concerned with the number and variety of accented and unaccented syllables," or in prose.


  • Lines and Stanzas -- Lines of a poem end  without necessarily having a period. Stanzas are made up of a group of lines of the poem, unlike prose which uses the sentence as its basic structure.
  • Meter and Rhythm -- Meter is the regular pattern of accented and unaccented syllables found n traditional forms of poetry. Rhythm is a variable pattern of strong and weak elements that lack a strict meter.  
  • Music of Poetry -- This refers to the sounds words make when put together, using rhyme and alliteration to create the desired effect.
  • Images, Symbols, and Figurative Language -- Poetry uses concrete images, symbols and figurative languages to convey meaning beyond the actual words used.
  • Diction and Syntax -- Diction is the choice of words, while syntax refers to the way the words are used to form sentences.

Poetic Forms:

  • Sonnet -- Fourteen lines of rhymed iambic pentameter with varying rhyme schemes.
  • Villanelle -- Five tercets and a final quatrain, often in iambic pentameter.
  • Rondeau -- Fifteen lines in three stanzas: a quintet, a quatrain, and a sestet, with two rhyme sounds repeating throughout the poem.
  • Sestina -- Six sestets in iambic pentameter followed by a tercet or triplet. The final words in each line repeat themselves in a set pattern.
  • Cinquain -- Five-line stanza often with a specific syllable count per line.
  • Pantoum -- Any number of quatrains that rhyme abab, with the second and fourth lines of one quatrain repeating as the first and third lines of the following quatrain.
  • Ghazal -- Consiste of five to twelve loosely related but self-contained couplets of about the same length and have a melancholy subject and repeat the final word or words of the second line at the end of all the second lines.
  • Prose -- Short, compact piece of writing that is rhythmic and uses strong, concrete images, but doesn't have line breaks as in traditional poetry.

Information taken from Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief by David Starkey