What is poem organized into?

1 Answer
Oct 27, 2017

Poetry is generally organized into stanzas.


Stanzas are similar to paragraphs, in that they separate different ideas by a line break. Within each stanza, the rhythm and meter are often fairly consistent. For example, check out this poem by Robert Frost. You can see how he has several 'chunks' of five line separated by a space. These are stanzas.

There are several types of stanzas.

  1. Couplet - 2 lines
  2. Tercet - 3 lines
  3. Quatrain - 4 lines
  4. Quintet - 5 lines (Frost's poem)
  5. Sestet - 6 lines
  6. Septet - 7 lines
  7. Octave - 8 lines

While the length and pattern of the stanzas are often up to the poet, there are certain fixed stanzas, which follow guidelines set by tradition. For instance, a sonnet has a fixed form of 14 lines of iambic pentameter with a rhyme scheme. William Shakespeare often uses this type of stanza, as in Sonnet 130 .

But though the majority of poets utilize stanzas to make the work easier to read, better sounding, and more organized, some authors choose continuous form. Here, there is no organization, grouping, or spacing. Check out this poem for an example.