Poetry and Structure – By Rachel Martin

Dear bloggers and readers,

Today I’ve decided to write briefly about poetry and structure.

Well, generally speaking, structure has to do with the overall organization of lines of a poem as well as its pattern of sounds.

Different types of poems are structured in different ways.

For example, the sonnet as we discussed before, contains 14 lines and is written in iambic pentameter.

Free verse, on the other hand, as we also already discussed, has no specific or identifiable structure.

One of the key things you need to know when writing and reading poetry or when analyzing its structure and organization is:

What is a stanza?

Well, a stanza is

  • a series of lines grouped together in a poem.
  • It is separated by an empty line from other stanzas.
  • A stanza in a poem is like a paragraph in an essay.

This is how you identify the structure and organisation of lines of a poem:


You can count the number of lines to identify a stanza.

As you see, in the poem above, there are 5 lines in stanzas 1 and 2 and 6 lines in stanzas 3 and 4.

These are the terms used to refer to stanzas or whole poems that have a specific number of lines.

  • 2 lines- a couplet


  • 3 lines- a tercet


  • 4 lines- a quatrain


  • 5 lines- a cinquain


  • 6 lines- a sestet


  • 7 lines- a septet


  • 8 lines- an octave


Here are some examples for you:

This poem is organised in couplets:


This is a tercet:


This is a quatrain:


Examine this one:


How would you describe its structure?

Answer in the comment box below.

And keep following us for more discussion on poetry and other forms of writing.



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