Poetry, which tends towards brevity, offers us high points of emotion, reflection, thought and feeling. It makes us think, makes us reflect, and generally instruct us. Poetry’s power lies in its words and thoughts, in its music, using rhyme and a variety of rhythms to intensify its emotional impact




14 line Sonnet



Blank Verse











  1. Lyric Poem: a lyric poem has no particular form. It is usually fairly short, written in simple language and has an easy-moving and well-defined rhythm.
  2. Sonnet: a sonnet is a poem of 14 lines. Each line has 5 regular beats. Italian type (abba abba cde cde); English type (abab cdcd efef gg).
  3. Ballad: They were written in short stanzas and usually tell a simple story of blighted love, battle, death, or the supernatural.

The usual form of the stanza is 4 lines riming xaxa. The first and third lines have 4 beats and the second and fourth, 3 beats.

  1. Ode: An Ode is a poem addressed to a person or thing, or written for some special occasion.
  2. Narrative Poem (mostly Ballads)
  3. Epic Poem: The epic poem is a long narrative poem built up usually around the adventures of a central hero.
  4. Limerick: A Short Humorous poem
  5. Elegy: A poem of mourning written on the death of a person.
  6. Nonsense Poem: A poem that does not make any logical sense when read. It is enjoyed for its sound, rhythm, sense of fun and for its pure nonsense.
  7. Epigram: A short, witty and often satirical poem. It is usually between 2 and 6 lines long although it can be a little longer.
  8. Satire: A sarcastic poem that attacks people or institutions such as organized religion, political parties, etc.


Wilfred Owen, Futility


Thomas, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”

Ben Okri, “An African Elegy”

Shelley, “Adondis”


Lenrie Peters, “We Have Come Home”

J.P. Clark, “Abiku” / “Casualties”

An Ode

Shalley, “Ode to the West Wind”

Keat, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”


Coleridge, “The Rime of The Ancient Mariner”

Traditional Poem

“Salute to the Elephant”

Blank Poem

Soyinka’s Poems

Kwesi Brew, “The Executioner’s Dream”

Clark’s Poems

Brutus’ Poems

Robert Frost’s , “Two Look at Two”



What are the terminologies used in poem?

  1. The Stanza Forms
    1. A Quartet
    2. A Quandruple
  • A Quatrain
  1. A Quintet
  2. A Sestet
  1. The Rhyme Schemes: This refers to the formal arrangement of rhymes in a stanza or a peom. The rhyme scheme is usually notated with lowercase letter of the alphabet, each different letter representing a different rhyme.
    1. Alternative Rhymes
    2. Triplet: A unit of three lines of verse. A triplet can be an independent stanza or a group of lines of the same pattern within a stanza of a different pattern, such as three lines that rhyme within a stanza of rhyming couplets.

His eldest hope, with every grace adorned,

By me (so Heaven will have it) always mourned,

And always honoured, snatched in manhood’s prime.

By unequal fate, and providence’s crime:

Yet not before the goal of honour won,

All parts fulfilled of subject and of son’

Swift was the rece, but short the time to run

  • John Dryden’s ‘Absalon & Achtophe’
    • Couplets: Two successive lines of verse marked usually by rhythmic correspondence, rhyme, or the inclusion of a self-contained utterance.

Think what you will, we seize into our hands

His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.

  • Shakespeare’s Richard II


  1. Free Verse: Poetry organized to the cadence of speech and image patterns rather than according to a regular metrical scheme. Its rhythms are based on patterned elements such as sounds, words, phrases, sentence, and paragraphs, rather than on the traditional prosodic units of metrical feet per line. Free verse, therefore, eliminates much of the artificiality and some of the aesthetic distance of poetic expression and substitute a flexible formal organization suited to the modern idiom and more casual tonality of the language. This is seen in T.S Eliot’s poems.
  1. Blank Verse: This refers to verse without rime which usually has a regular 5- beat rhythm. That is, an unrhymed verse , specifically unrhymed iambic pentameter, the preeminent dramatic and narrative verse form in English Christopher Marlowe developed its musical qualities and emotional power in ‘Doctor Faustus’ using blank verses.








Subject Matter

Type of

Dry Your Tears, Africa

Bernard Dadie

Love for Africa

Negritude Poetry


Wole Soyinka

The poet’s impression of Nightfall


And So It Came to Pass

Funso Aiyejina

Political or Democratic Leadership


A Taxi Driver on His Death

Timothy Wangusa

Death by a motor accident

A Monologue

The Causalities

J.P. Clark

Victims of a war situation

A Lamentation

A Troubadour I Traverse

Dennis Brutus

Lover for the Nation


Ode to a Nightingale

John Keat

Tranquility of Nature

A Romantic Poem

Journey To The Magi

T.S. Eliot

Human Predicament


The World Is To Much With Us

William Wordsworth

Man’s attitude Towards’ Nature

A Sonnet abba, abba, dcdcdc

The Snake

D. H. Lawrence

Encounter with A Snake


The Sun Rising

John Donne

An Address to The Sun


The Rose of the World

W. B. Yeat

The Ultimate Fate of Man-Death







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