KOLEC Lesson 19: Types of Poetry - Part 2

KOLEC Lesson 19: Types of Poetry - Part 2



Apart from the categorization of poems into traditional and modern poems, there are other ways of classifying poems. This classification combines the elements of form and content. 



The following are types of poems according to form and content :

(1) Lyric poetry 

This is a short poem that expresses strong and deep feelings. It is poetry that focuses on expressing emotions or thoughts, rather than on telling a story. The term 'lyric' comes from Greek. In ancient Greece, lyric poems were recited to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument called the 'lyre.'  

Examples of lyric poems:  

• Eat More 

• The Trial 

• You are Lost 


(2) Ballad 

This is a poem in which two or more people are speaking in turn. It is a song or song-like poem that tells a story. It is a dramatic type of poem as it is presented like a drama, where people talk to each other in turn.  

Examples of Ballads:  

• Ballad of Landlord 

• Ballad of John Henry  


(3) Narrative poetry 

This is a poem that tells a story of a certain event or issue that happened. The story in the poem is usually told by a persona. Narrative poems have a narrator (persona) and they often use literary devices such as dialogues. 

Examples of narrative poems:  

• Ballads 

• Epics 


(4) Didactic poetry 

This is the poetry designed to give instructions to the readers. It includes all the poems that teach lessons to society. Didactic poems are mainly for political and social awareness and changes.  

Examples of didactic poems: 

• Your Pain 

• If We Must Die 

• Sunrise 


(5) Epic 

An epic is usually a long poem that deals with the brave actions of great men in the history of a certain society. This is the poem that presents heroic characters or heroes.  

For instance, an epic can be for praise the great deeds of a soldier who went to war and brought home the victory. 

Examples of epic poems:  

• I'lliad  

• Paradise Lost

• Moses (in the Bible) 


(6) Sonnet 

This is a fourteen-line lyric poem that has two stanzas. The first stanza is an eight-line octave that usually presents a problem, poses a question, or expresses an idea, which the second six-line stanza (sestet) resolves, or answers. 

Examples of sonnets:  

• If We Must Die  

• Sunrise  


(7) Elegy 

This is a lyric poem that expresses sadness about someone who has died. It mourns the death of a person or that laments something lost. It is usually written in formal language and it has a solemn tone. 


(8) Ode 

This is a poem that addresses or celebrates a person, a thing or an event. It is a long lyric poem on a serious subject. An ode is a formal style used in public occasions or ceremonies. 


This course is prepared and offered by: "KACHELE ONLINE LITERATURE IN ENGLISH COURSE" (KOLEC) 

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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