Types of Poetry #1: Haiku, Tanka, and Free Verse

So many types of poetry exist in the world, and for my first blog-regarding the research for my project-I decided to begin learning about the types and structure of poetry.

To get started, I used the internet to find websites with examples and definitions of poetry types. Because there are over fifty types of poetry, I decided to focus on poetry forms that I myself might use in the future. I began with learning about haiku’s, which I started off with having limited knowledge of.

A haiku is a Japanese poem, typically made up of three lines with a total of seventeen syllables. The first line of the haiku is made up of five syllables, seven for the second line, and then five again for the third. A haiku usually has a kireji, translated to “cutting-word,” which is the part of the poem where the mood abruptly changes. Haiku’s very rarely have context to them, and although they are incredibly short, they are considered as finished pieces of work. In addition, haiku’s usually have a season reference within them.

Here is my example of a haiku:

Say good morning Sun

Who is hiding behind clouds

As fall approaches.


I then learned about another type of Japanese poetry. This type is called tanka, and is very similar to a haiku. A tanka has five lines, so it is slightly longer than the more well known haiku. The first and third line of a tanka has five syllables, while the other three lines have seven. A tanka is thirty-one syllables long, and is traditionally written in one, unbroken line. Also like a haiku, a tanka is usually written without rhyme, however the topic in the poem is more similar to a sonnet, rather than a randomized haiku. In the past, tankas became so popular that the Japanese Imperial Court wrote their own and held competitions.

This is my tanka example:

My most darling dear, Why must I love you so much, For my undying love, Won’t be reciprocated, Yet I still choose to love you.


The next type of poetry I researched was Free Verse. Free Verse is a form that follows no rules; it can be written in anyway the author chooses. Free Verse is simply that, free. There is no way to incorrectly write this type of poetry. This style is similar to writing a short story, but may have hidden deeper meanings, more of a flow, or even jumping around that would make a story confusing. Free Verse has no instructions to follow, it is simply write what you want.

Here is a short free verse poem:

I woke up feeling dread for the day

And arrived to school where others

Like me awaited the same fate.


I skip lunch to get more

Understanding of physics

But why did I honestly bother?


I flunk a test this period

Yet I ace the one the next hour

I replace old information with new.


I will continue to research and post my own examples of types of poetry/forms throughout this project, so this is my first blog post in this series.


Cover Photo Credit: Pixabay


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s