The Ghazal

The ghazal — one of the forms that will be considered in this spring’s Jersey City Writers poetry competition — dates back to seventh-century Arabia. As the form flourished in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Persia (Hafiz and Rumi are two well-known Persian writers of ghazals from this period), it can now be found in many languages, […]

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The Pantoum

The pantoum originated in Malaysia in the fifteenth-century as a short folk poem, typically made up of two rhyming couplets that were recited or sung. However, as the pantoum spread and Western writers altered and adapted the form, the importance of rhyming and brevity diminished. The modern pantoum is a poem of any length, composed […]

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The Sonnet

The word sonnet is derived from a word that means “little song” in Italian. Sonnets were originally inspired by Italian folk songs sung by peasants. The songs consisted of octaves (8 lined stanzas), and Giacomo da Lentino, who is credited with the sonnet’s invention, added 6 more lines to the octave to make the sonnet, […]

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The Limerick

A limerick is a humorous poem consisting of five lines. The first, second, and fifth lines must have seven to ten syllables while rhyming and having the same verbal rhythm. The third and fourth lines only have to have five to seven syllables, and have to rhyme with each other and have the same rhythm. […]

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