Not-So-Commonly Used Poetry Forms

I wanted to create a list of poetic devices that aren’t used or seen as regularly as say alliteration.

  • Anaphora A poem where successive lines or phrases begin with the words, becoming a kind of mantra. The repetition can be as simple as a single word or as long as an entire phrase. It is very common in prayers or devotional texts. Shakespeare (as well as many, many Victorian and Romantic poets) also used this form.

   Examples: The Tyger by William Blake

Birds of Passage (Leaves of Grass) by Walt Whitman

The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot

  • Found Poem: Use existing texts and reorder them to create a new poem. These can take text from newspapers, speeches, graffiti, other poems, news releases, etc. It is very inspired by the pop art movement in art and many see it as a form of ‘literary scrapbooking’ or as a ‘literary collage.’

Examples:   Cantos by Ezra Pound

The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot

  • OULIPO: From the french, “Ouvroir de littérature potentielle” (workshop of potetntial literature) is an idea that math and literature can combine to create a playful but structured poem. There are many ways that this can be done. One method is the N+7  where a poem already in existence is used and each of the poem’s main nouns are replaced by the noun that appears 7 nouns away from its place in the dictionary. It is important that this word be something entirely different, not just a synonym.


         Applying the N+7 rule to Wallace Stevens’s poem “The Snow Man,”you get a new poem called “The Soap Mandible”:

One must have a miniature of wisdom
To regard the fruit and the boulders
Of the pinions crusted with soap;



I loved Found Poems, and have started a good number of poems by using a line or several from a poem. One of my poems, Epicene is a shoot off of a Found Poem idea since several of the lines are a combination of news reports, autopsy reports and reactions to create a poem.

So, there are a few interesting ways to get your poems charged, changed up and mixed up. Any forms, techniques, etc. that you like to use to give your poetry a good kick?



  1. Andrea Beltran Said:

    Have been thinking of working my first found poem all week. No more procratinating. I’m doing it today. Thanks for the push and sharing this today.

    • Excellent! I adore found poems! I have an entire binder filled with scraps of paper with words and phrases I can’t wait to craft together. How’s your poem turning out?

  2. […] if you remember my post about not so common poetic devices and forms, you’ll remember the Found Poem. Well, I have a confession, I love Found […]

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