Understanding poetic form and creating poetry

Home learning focus

Learn how to use key methods to write poetry and understand poetic form.

This lesson includes:

  • one video to help you understand how to identify poetic form in order to choose a form for your poetry
  • two activities


When writing poetry, it is important to select the form you will write in. Watch this short clip to understand the difference between open and closed form poetry.

Discover how the structure or pattern of a poem can be described as open or closed.

Open form is very free - it doesn’t have to follow traditional or specific patterns. This style of poetry may not follow any rules at all or it might use small elements of traditional forms of poetry.

When looking at an open form poem consider some of the structural ideas, such as rhyme and the rhythm, and think about how these have been created and why.

Closed form is much more structured, and governed by specific rules, or patterns. In closed form poetry specific poetic structures may repeat throughout the poem, perhaps to create rhythmic effects.

The form of a poem is important as it can have an impact upon the reader. It supports and enhances the use of linguistic devices, to help engage the reader in the subject matter of the poem.


Activity 1

Click on the link and read the text on this page which explains more about open and closed form - How to understand open and closed form in poetry.

On a piece of paper, make mind maps of the key information. You can either create one large mind map or create ones for each sub-heading.

More information on how to create a mind map can be found by reading this article from Bitesize Support.

Activity 2

Complete this poetry challenge and write a poem based on one of the topics listed below:

  • school
  • one of your hobbies
  • your favourite time of year
  • your favourite food

Once you have decided on your topic, you should create a poem that includes each of these elements:

  • Three stanzas.
  • A minimum of four lines in each stanza.
  • In one stanza, try to rhyme every other line. For example the first and third lines could rhyme, and so on.
  • A simile - comparing two things using the words 'like' or 'as'.
  • Alliteration - a series of words beginning with the same letter or sound.
  • A caesura - a pause taken by the reader in the middle of a line of poetry, not at the end. You can create this using punctuation such as a full stop, comma or semicolon.
  • Repetition - when a single word, or a group of words, is repeated for effect.

Top tip

Plan ideas for your poem before you start. You can even plan for more than one idea and select your favourite.

Where next?

In this lesson you revised poetic form and written your own poem in a closed form.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand poetry and create your own poems.

There's more to learn

More lessons for Year 8 and S2
More from KS3 English
11 - 14 English Language
Blue Planet
Poetryline - Similie examples
Poetryline - Poet interviews