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Grade 6
Aug 29, 2022


A stanza is a unit within a larger poem. Poems can either be written in open form or closed form.  

In the closed form, lines are equally arranged in fixed patterns of stress and rhyme.   

Stanzas can be of various types, depending on their structure and rhyme pattern such as:  

  • 2-lines – Couplet  
  • 3-lines – Tercet   
  • 4-lines – Quatrain  
  • 5-lines – Quintain  
  • 6-lines – Sextain  
  • 7-lines – Septet  
  • 8-lines – Octave  

Types of Stanzas:   


Stanzas with 2 rhyming lines are known as couplets.  

  • Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,  
  • Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.  


Stanzas with 3 lines, that may or may not rhyme, are known as tercets.  

  • Japanese Haiku poetry is an example of a tercet. The Haiku “In Kyoto” by Basho is a good example.  
  • In Kyoto,  
  • hearing the cuckoo,  
  • I long for Kyoto.  


Stanzas with 4 lines, that can be rhymes but are not required to, are known as quatrains.  

Elizabethan sonnets from Shakespeare are examples of quatrains.  

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?  

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:  

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,  


And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:  


Stanzas with 5 lines, that do not rhyme, are known as cinquains. Each line is structured with a set number of syllables.  

Line 1 – 2 syllables  

Line 2 – 4 syllables  

Line 3 – 6 syllables  

Line 4 – 8 syllables  

Line 5 – 2 syllables  

An example of a cinquain is:  


Grey, enormous  

Walking, stomping, trumpeting,  

Trunks are splashing, spraying  



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