Three Main Groups
LyricMy November Guest Mowing A Late Walk NarrativeOut, Out Love and a Question Brown's DescentDramaticDeath of the Hired Man Home Burial The Witch of Coos
Stanzaic Form Couplet The Secret Sits The Tuft of Flowers A Minor BirdTercet (Triplets)Acquainted with the Night A Star in a Stoneboat Provide, ProvideQuatrain Devotion Stopping by Woods Good HoursQuintet My November GuestThe Road Not Taken Bond and Free.Sestet Spring PoolsThe Freedom of the Moon Closed for GoodOctave Nothing Gold Can StayTwo Tramps in Mud Time Love and a Question Fixed Form Sonnet Design Mowing The Silken TentBlank Verse Mending Wall Birches Out, Out Continuous FormStorm Fear After Apple-Picking Mending Wall
Frost's quote, "I'd sooner write free verse as play tennis with the net down," applies as well to form as it does to meter.For Frost, both form and meter were fundamental in the crafting of poetry. It's important to know how much it meant tohim. Frost wrote,"There is at least so much good in the world that it admits of form and the making of form. And not only admits of it, but calls for it. We people are thrust forward out of the suggestions of form in the rolling clouds of nature. In us naturereaches its height of form and through us exceeds itself. When in doubt there is always form for us to go on with.Anyone who has achieved the least form to be sure of it, is lost to the larger excruciations. I think it must stroke faith theright way. The artist, the poet, might be expected to be the most aware of such assurance. But it is really everybody'ssanity to feel it and live by it. Fortunately, too, no forms are more engrossing, gratifying, comforting, staying than thoselesser ones we throw off, like vortex rings of smoke, all our individual enterprise and needing nobody's cooperation; a basket, a letter, a garden, a room, an idea, a picture, a poem. For these we haven't to get a team together before we can play."
falls into general categories which overlay the terms of structure. Poems are said to be
lyric, narrative ordramatic.
Thus a poem can be described as a lyric written in couplets, quatrains or sestets (2, 4 or 6 line stanzas). Therecan be a narrative poem written in blank verse, continuous structure (Birches). There can even be a dramatic narrativewhich has lyric overtones (Mending Wall). Frost wrote in all these forms.
poetry is usually a short poem expressing personal thoughts and feelings. It is meditative. It is spoken by a singlespeaker about his feelings for a person, object, event or idea. This type poetry was originally sung accompanied by alyre. Frost is primarily a lyric poet.Examples:My November Guest is a lyric poem written in 5 line stanzas (quintets). The meter is tetrameter, with a rhyming pattern abaabMowing is a lyrical sonnet with a very irregular rhyming pattern.A Late Walk is a ballad-style lyric (tetrameter alternating with trimeter) rhyming the 2nd and 4th lines inquatrains. The indentation sets off the rhymes.
poetry tells a story revealed by a progression unique to itself. There is a rising action, a climax and a fallingaction.Examples:Out, Out is a narrative in blank verse written in a continuous structure. (No stanzas, no breaks)Love and a Question is a ballad (see below) written in 8 line stanzas (octaves)Brown's Descent is a humorous narrative rhyming the 2nd and 4th lines in quatrains. The indentation sets off therhymes. The meter is tetrameter. Note: The ballad is a narrative poem with stanzas of two or four lines and sometimes, a refrain. They are writtenin straight-forward verse, seldom with detail, but always with graphic simplicity and force. Ballads are generallywritten in ballad meter, i.e., alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, with the last words of thesecond and fourth lines rhyming. Other Ballads: A Line Storm Song, Wind and Window Flower.
poems have speaking characters as in a little play. There can be monologues (1 person speaking), dialogs (2or more people speaking) and narratives. The Death of the Hired Man is often called a dramatic narrative. Frost usuallywrites these in blank verse. The speeches follow no stanzaic pattern, but the lines are metrical. Frost's second book
North of Boston
is most famous for his dramatic pieces. He patterned many of them after Virgil's Eclogues. Frost'sdramatic poems comprise some of his best praised work.