Fixed-form poems

poem white space acrostic ode sestina limerick villanelle sonnet spatial poem
lg l

Having identified the form of the poem as a whole using a type on the outermost wrapper element, your next level of encoding is the interior line groupings that define the poem’s structure. Your encoding should represent whatever interior groupings will be useful based on your intended use. If you are using lg only to encode groupings that are set off renditionally in the text, and do not plan to use this encoding for detailed retrieval, the simplest encoding will be to use lg without a type attribute for poetic sub-components. If you want to identify these components more specifically, some recommendations for the components of fixed-form poems, based on the WWP’s practice, are given below as examples.

We advise that you break the poem down only into its largest sub-components: that is, the ones which are used as part of the definition of the poetic form, or the parts which are separated by white space (if any). In all cases, smaller line groupings such as quatrains, etc. should be encoded with lg type="quatrain", etc.

Acrostic: divide into whatever line groupings are indicated by internal white space

Ode: tag each stanza with lg type="stanza"; within each stanza, tag the quatrain and the sestet with lg

Limerick: no internal components

Sestina: tag the sestets and tercet with lg


Spatial: tag whatever line groupings are indicated by internal white space

Villanelle: tag as tercets and a quatrain