Types of poems and their characteristics/41 Types

Types of poems

The types of poems are classified according to a series of characteristics related to the number of syllables, the type of rhyme or stanzas, and the composition. The poem is defined as a work composed of verses, which seek to express both the emotions and the impressions that its author has of the world. It belongs to poetry, one of the main literary genres. 41 types of poems and their characteristics

Also, this type of poetic composition makes use of language tools such as rhyme, prose or meter. In general, poems are made up of two basic elements: verses and stanzas. This gives rise to a wide classification of types of poems that we will see next.

Types of main poems

-According to the number of syllables in the verses

Minor art

Minor art verses are known as those that have eight syllables or less. According to the number of syllables they have, they are assigned a name. They are:

  • Bisyllables : are those verses that have two syllables. These tend to be very rare in the literature. However, they were the most used in the era of Romanticism.
  • Trisyllables : are those verses that have three syllables. Like two-syllable verses, three-syllable verses are rare. They began to be used from the 18th century until today.
  • Four-syllable : these are four-syllable verses. This type of verse has been used since the Middle Ages alone or combined with other verses that used to be eight.
  • Pentasyllables : they are verses of five syllables. Like the four-syllable, these have been used since the Middle Ages in combination with other types of verses. However, from the 15th century they began to be used independently.
  • Hexasyllables : are those lines of six syllables. They have been used since the Middle Ages in popular compositions.
  • Heptasyllables : stand out for being seven syllables. Its use became popular in the Renaissance era. They used to be used in combination with verses of eleven syllables. These verses were also widely used in the 18th century.
  • Octosyllables : its verses are eight syllables and it is the most popular type of verse in Spanish poems. It has been used continuously from the 11th century to the present day.

Of major art

Those that have nine or more syllables are known as major art verses. Like the verses of minor art, they are assigned a name depending on the number of syllables. They are:

  • Eneasyllables : these are verses of nine syllables. Poems with enasyllable verses appeared in refrains of both poems and popular songs in the period from the 15th to the 17th centuries. However, its use increased in subsequent centuries.
  • Decasyllables : are those verses that have 10 syllables. This type of verse is rarely used and is done in combination with other types of verse.
  • Endecasyllables : they stand out for having 11 syllables. From the 16th century onwards, hendecasyllable verses became more important and became one of the most used in Castilian poetry. It is worth noting that depending on the position in which the non-verse accents are found, there are several types of hendecasyllable verses.
  • Twelve syllables : these are verses of 12 syllables. It was widely used in both the 14th and 15th centuries. This is a verse that is made up of two hemisticas of six plus six syllables, or seven plus five syllables. 41 types of poems and their characteristics
  • Tridecasyllables : these are verses of 13 syllables. They have also had little use throughout history.
  • Alejandrino : this is the name given to the verses of 14 syllables. It was used frequently during the 13th and 14th centuries. But later it was used very little until the 19th century, when it was implemented by the romantic poets.
  • Pentadecasyllables : they are made up of 15 syllables.
  • Hexadecasyllables or octonaries : they are the verses of 16 syllables
  • Heptadecasyllables : these are verses of 17 syllables.
  • Octodecasyllables : are those verses that have 18 syllables.
  • Enneadecasyllables : contain 19 syllables.

-Depending on the type of rhyme

Rhyme is one of the language tools used in poems. It is a similarity of final sounds that the verses have. The rhymes can be of two types, distinguishing two types of poems:

Poems with consonant rhyme

A poem is considered a consonant when its last syllable has a similarity in pronunciation or intonation with the first syllable. Basically it is the one established between the verses whose endings are the same and both vowels and consonants are included.

Poems with assonance rhyme

A poem is assonance when in its sentences only the vowels rhyme. In this case, the rhyme is only established in the vowels that are stressed in the last stressed syllable located at the end of each line. This type of poem is also called “imperfect” or “partial”.

-According to the type of stanzas

Of two verses

  • Paired : these are verses that can be of minor or major art. And they can be both rhyming consonant or assonance.

Of three verses

  • Third : it is about three verses of major art with consonant rhyme.
  • Third : also refers to three verses with consonant rhyme but of minor art.
  • Soleá : it is constituted with verses of minor art but with assonance rhyme.

Of four verses

  • Quartet : it is four verses of major art with consonant rhyme.
  • Redondilla : in this case there are four verses of minor art, but also · with consonant rhyme.
  • Serventesio : it is also about four verses of major art with consonant rhyme.
  • Quatrain : they are four verses of minor art with consonant rhyme.
  • Copla : it is about four eight-syllable verses with consonant rhyme.
  • Cuaderna via : there are four Alexandrian verses with consonant rhyme.

Of five verses

  • Quintet : it is about five verses of major art with consonant rhyme. In this case there are no more than two verses in a row with the same rhyme and no verse without rhyme.
  • Limerick : they are five verses of minor art with consonant rhyme and variable scheme.
  • Lyre : it is two hendecasyllable verses with three seven-syllable verses. They are consonant rhyme

Of six verses

  • Broken foot or manriqueña copla : these are minor art verses with consonant rhyme

Of eight verses

  • Real Octave : it is about eight verses of major art with consonant rhyme.
  • Leaflet : in this case there are eight verses of minor art with consonant rhyme and variable scheme.

Of ten verses

-According to its composition


Sonnets are poetic compositions that consist of fourteen verses, which are consonant hendecasyllables. 41 types of poems and their characteristics

In addition to six verses that usually form two triplets. It has its origin in Italy and was consolidated by Dante and Petrarca .

The sonnet arrived in Spain in the 15th century and became one of the most influential lyric genres in the history of Hispanic literature . Since it began to be used, it has adopted other combinations and variations such as the sonnet or the sonnet with estrambote, among others.


This is a composition that is composed of an indeterminate number of eight-syllable verses.

In this case, the odd ones are free rhyme and the pairs are assonance rhymes. This type of poems are of popular anonymous origin and the oldest ones admitted the mixture of assonance and consonance.


It is a poetic composition of Hispanic Arabic origin. It is made up of an initial chorus made up of two or three verses.

It also has a variable number of stanzas, which are formed by three monorrimos verses and a last verse , which is round. This rhymes with the chorus. This combination for singing appeared in Muslim Spain. 41 types of poems and their characteristics


The Christmas carols are a composition similar to Zegel. Over the years this composition has been called a religious and Christmas song.

It is composed of an opening chorus, as well as a move and a return verse. In this case all the verses are octosyllables or heptasyllables and are chained in the following way.

First there is a chorus of three or four verses, then a foot that consists of moving and later two or three linking verses that are the ones that rhyme with the chorus.


It is an unlimited series of verses that can be consonant heptasyllables and hendecasyllables.

These are usually rhymed to suit the poet. In this composition individual verses may appear. A condition for this type of series is that the rhymes must not be too far apart. Silva is of Italian origin and began to be used in Spanish poetry in the 16th century.


It is a poem that has a fairly complex structure. This can vary depending on factors such as the poet and the era in which it is created. It is a combination in stanzas of heptasyllable and hendecasyllable verses.

In this case the rhymes can be assonance or consonant. The song is also a composition of Italian origin. But this came to Spanish poetry during the Renaissance.


The madrigal is a short poetic composition, but with great harmony and simplicity. It is basically a short love song. It can be from three to six voices and it combines heptasyllable and hendecasyllable verses with consonant rhyme. 41 types of poems and their characteristics


All poems with a chorus are known by the name of letrilla. It appeared during the so-called Golden Age and its main peculiarity was its burlesque or satirical tone. These are verses of minor art with consonant rhyme and with a structure very similar to that of the Christmas carol.

Free verse

When it speaks of free verses, it refers to poems that do not have any fixed metric scheme. This type of poetry is based on a different rhythm that can include arrangement of words, syntactic structure, among other things. Free verses were the staple of twentieth century poetry.


This is a poem of Japanese origin that was widely used in the 20th century. This type of composition consists of 3 verses of 5, 7 and 5 syllables.

In haiku it is usually expressed, in addition to the feeling of love, other expressions that evoke both love and divinities and nature. This type of poem is usually interrelated in rhyme between its verses and stanzas. 41 types of poems and their characteristics


It is a type of verse composition that is characterized by having a tone of praise, admiration and exaltation. This type of poetry is generally used to praise a character or an idea. Unlike most compositions, it has an indeterminate number of verses.


It is a short poetic composition that is characterized by containing only two verses. It usually conveys a feeling of joy and joy, as well as joy, and in some cases it even has a touch of satire and mockery.


It is a special type of poem that does not have a fixed metric shape. It is responsible for transmitting feelings of abandonment, anguish, despair and sadness.


This is a type of poem in which its verses are related to nature, in addition to making allusions and comparisons with the love of two people. On the other hand, it can be defined as a poetic composition that is dedicated to idealizing the life of the shepherds and the countryside.

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