A poem pattern is defined as "the precise arrangement and development of material (in both visual and aural form) components of words in certain repeated or serial forms that are a method to build a poem structure." A poem's structure is determined by the interplay of components from sound and image. The pattern itself can be either linear or non-linear, depending on how the various elements are connected.
The most obvious pattern to a reader of poetry is iambic pentameter, an ancient form of poetic meter used extensively by the English poets John Milton and Samuel Johnson. It consists of five pairs of metrically equivalent stressed and unstressed syllables arranged in lines of ten syllables each. Between each pair of lines there is usually a caesura, or break, generally indicated by a space or punctuation mark.
Other common patterns include sonnet form, sestet form, villanelle, fainting couch, ode, and ballad. Many modern poems follow no particular pattern but instead create a "confusion of patterns" through irregular line breaks, unusual word choices, or both.
Patterns are important in poetry because they give the reader or listener predictability in what will come next. When reading or listening to a poem, we expect certain sounds or images at certain points within the text; when these points aren't reached, we become confused and lose interest.
There are several ways to organize poetry, however there are particular characteristics that are commonly used in poems. Meter, which is the rhythm pattern; feet, which are patterns in poetry lines; and stanzas, which indicate a collection of lines with associated topics, are examples of these. Other structures include graphs, maps, and diagrams.
Meter is the pattern of syllables that rules most languages. It can be regular (e.g., iambs, troches, or limers) or irregular (e.g., anapests, dactyls, or spondees). In English poetry, meter is usually indicated by capital letters at the beginning of lines of a poem, or by punctuation (such as spaces or periods).
Feet are the basic units of a line of poetry. A poem will often contain multiple lines, each containing one or more feet. Feet may be distinguished by how many syllables they contain: monosyllabic, polysyllabic, or polysyllabic-with-accent. For example, "the quick brown fox" has two feet: one short and one long. Meters usually have different numbers of lines, depending on the type of meter.
Pattern poetry is verse in which the typography or lines are placed in an unusual arrangement, generally to transmit or expand the emotional meaning of the words. It is also known as figure poetry, shaped verse, or carmen figuratum. The term "pattern poetry" was first used by Kurt Schwitters in his book Die Fornschrift der Dichter und Dichtungen von den Anfängen bis zum Ende des 13. Jahrhunderts (1926). He used it to describe medieval French and German poems composed in non-traditional styles, such as alliterative, rondeau, and villanelle.
The first printed collection of pattern poems was made in Germany in 1634. It was called "Abbildungen und Entwürfe für das gemahlene Lied" (Illustrations and designs for the alliterative song) and was edited by Ludwig Helmberg. Other early contributors included Johann Valentin Andreae, Samuel Garth, and Henry Vaughan.
In the 20th century, many artists have produced pattern books. The most famous example is probably Das Alphabet (The Alphabet), a book of letters designed by Jan Svankmajer that were later reproduced in ceramic form by Tony Cragg.
PATTERNS OF SOUND The rhyme scheme, meter (i.e., regular rhythm), and word sounds are three other aspects of poetry (like alliteration). Rhyme is a formal or poetic use of repetition of words or groups of words to create a pattern that fits within a set number of syllables for a given line of verse.
The most common patterns are ABBA and AA. With an ABBA pattern, the last word or phrase of each stanza or section of a poem ends with a heavy sound (called an "apostrophe"), while the first word or phrase of the next stanza starts with a light sound (called an "accent"). With an AA pattern, each line of the poem has an identical ending and beginning sound.
Other common patterns include AABB, AAA, and RAA. With an AABB pattern, each stanza or section of the poem begins with a light sound and ends with a heavy sound. This pattern can be seen in many old poems in English. With an AAA pattern, each line of the poem has the same number of syllables, but some lines may have heavier sounds than others. This pattern is typical of modern poems written in the language now known as English.
How to Recognize Form in Poetry
The manner used by a poet to express meaning, tone, and emotion in his or her work is referred to as style in poetry. For example, the meaning and relevance of a poem can be communicated. A poet's style includes musical techniques such as rhythm and rhyme. Also, personal expression through diction (the choice of words) and syntax (the structure of sentences) are included in the definition of style.
Poetry has many forms, including sonnet, sestet, villanelle, limerick, ode, and pantoum. Each form has its own distinctive style that must be observed for the reader to understand and appreciate the work.
Style can be described as the combination of methods or devices used by a writer to convey information and ideas. These methods include but are not limited to vocabulary, sentence structure, imagery, alliteration, metaphor, simile, personification, indirection, abstraction, and playfulness.
For example, consider this poem by Emily Dickinson:
When I Look into the Mirror of My Heart--
I see my life in pictures -
One after another they pass before me -
Some are sad, some are merry --
But all show me someone else