A Brief Introduction to Short-Form Poetry

National Poetry Month is in full swing and lots of poets are writing their hearts out in order to get to 30 poems in 30 days. Today, let’s take a look at some short-form poems that can help  you express your thoughts without taking up your entire day.

Why Should I write Short-Form Poetry?

Short-form poetry is a great way for writers who aren’t familiar with poetry to get started. If you primarily write prose, this can give you a chance to try out some poetry without committing to an epic-length poem.

Additionally, poets who usually write long can use this as an exercise to condense their writing, get to the core of the matter quickly, and trim out any excess. When you’re bound by syllables and word count, you have to make your message as short and to-the-point as possible.

Beginning poets also can find short-form poetry helpful as short-form poems are less time consuming and can help them work within a structure. There’s something for everyone in short-form poetry.

Short-Form Poetry Styles You Might Know


A Japanese poem which records the essence of a moment, offering insight into nature and the nature of humanity. Modern English should be brief – with one to three lines totaling 17 syllables or fewer. A haiku of three lines is most common, with usually a short, long, short format. Although the format is not as important. The 5-7-5 syllable count is not required.


A Nonet is a nine line poem, with the first line containing nine syllables, the next eight, so on until the last line has one syllable. Nonets can be written about any subject, and rhyming is optional.


A sonnet is a 14 line poem. There are many different styles and forms for sonnets, including Shakespearean and Petrarchan.

Short-Form Poetry Styles To Try Out


This the poetic form of Afghan women. The poem is 22 syllables long and contains 2 lines. 9 syllables in the first and 11 in the second. Subjects can include, but are not limited to, war, separation, homeland, grief, or love.


This poem style contains seven lines and is mysterious and strange. Lines one to three should contain three connected or contrasting statements, or a list of three details, names or possibilities. Lines four to six should similarly have three elements (statements, details, names, or possibilities) connected directly or indirectly or not at all. The seventh line should act as a narrative summary or punchline or an unusual juxtaposition.


A Rondeau is a short poem consisting of fifteen lines that have two rhymes throughout. The first few words or phrase from the first line are repeated twice in the poem as a refrain.

Other Popular Short-Form Poems

Good luck and post your short-form poems in the comments!

20 thoughts on “A Brief Introduction to Short-Form Poetry

Add yours

  1. Landay (struggled with syllable count for the word “WE’LL”

    Again and again you retold stories
    We’ll only hear now in our memories

    Same theme — expanded — as a Nonet

    9 Again and again you retold stories,
    8 Heard now only in grieving thoughts,
    7 about loving folks, now gone,
    6 Their stories told to you,
    5 in desperate hope
    4 of being shared
    3 with children
    2 not yet
    1 born

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lauran, thanks for this challenge! I don’t claim to be a poet of any sort, but here goes with a nonet:

    9. The smell of warm cinnamon bagels
    8. mingled with bridal shower guests
    7. as you fixed your belt, alone.
    6. Suicide is cement.
    5. Unpredictable,
    4. sweetness crumbled,
    3. buried by
    2. one call
    1. home.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never quiet in the night I hear
    An owl who searches for lover
    A deer stepping back to wait
    A slithering unknown
    A tumbling leaf
    Wind becomes breeze
    My own steps

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Here’s a haiku for my husband:

    Larger than the past
    The sun bright in his blue eyes
    The Cowboy cometh.

    I’m going to work on a Nonet. I LOVE that form!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here is m y Nonet

    Debt of Capitalism

    My pay got deposited today.
    A false sense of security,
    That roars against all reason.
    Bi-monthly this happens.
    I must slave for them,
    For they own me.
    Pushing me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A man rode his bike in the rain
    Till the sprocket let go of the chain
    Brakeless he sped
    Till he fell on his head
    Never to bicycle again

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A man rode his bike in the rain,
    Till the sprocket let go of the chain.
    Brakeless he sped
    Till he fell on his head
    Never to bicycle again.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. While working on several of the forms I wanted to read and attempt a Landay.. I invite You to click on that form and read about Rahila Muska. As a man I think it would be shameful to attempt one after reading about the form and it’s history.

    Liked by 1 person

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