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Poetry comes in many sub genres according to their subject matter and the style used by the poet. The two often go together, since a certain subject (love,death9 traditionally entails the use of certain words, turns of phrases and images (through this division should not be conceived of too rigidly=. The most common short poetic genres, which include some of the best poetry written in English, are the song, the lyric, the ballad, the sonnet and the elegy.
Longer forms include the epic poem, the ode and the didactic poem.
The two terms have often been used as synonyms. Some critics, in fact, say that a lyric is a song without music and reflects a later, more literary awareness of the same impulse to sing life’s basic themes: love and death.

Another lyric form is that of the sonnet, a 14-line structure of Italy origin which has been immensely popular in English from the Renaissance to the present time.
During the Renaissance, a great innovation was to change the metrical structure of the Petrarchan sonnet (two quatrain and two tercets), creating the pattern which was later by W. Shakespeare and his contemporary and is usually known as Elizabethan or Shakespearean sonnet (three quatrains and a couplet).

Technically speaking the ballad can be defined as a form of popular verse, usually narrative and employing a very direct and simple metrical pattern: stanzas of four lines (quatrains) rhyming abcb or abab. Ballads originally belonged to the same tradition as folk songs: they were poem composed by common people to be sung. This musical origin of ballad is testified by its name, which comes from the Old French balade.

One of the oldest poetical genres is the elegy, which is a lament for dead person. It often includes a reflection of transitory nature of life and it ends in a mood of consolation.

A long narrative poem usually divided into books or parts and generally mythological or religious in theme. It tells op great actions and events that are usually important to a nation or culture. Epic poems are modelled on classical epics. The first epic poem in English literature is Beowulf.
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