Ballad Writing: Ballad Poems

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Ballad Poems: Ballad Writing

As part of the Junior English poetry unit called American Odyssey, you will be writing a ballad about the exploits of your traveling team.  This page contains information on the ballad form and offers tips on writing one of your own.

Ballads tell of an event. They were often used to spread the news, provide entertainment, or create a "bigger than real life" story.

Ballad Writing Tips

  • often have verses of four lines
  • usually have a rhyming pattern: either abac, aabb or acbc (usually the easiest to rhyme)
  • repetition often found in ballads
    • entire stanzas can be repeated like a song's chorus
    • lines can be repeated but each time a certain word is changed
    • a question and answer format can be built into a ballad: one stanza asks a questions and the next stanza answers the question
  • Ballads contain a lot of dialogue. 
  • Action is often described in the first person
  • Two characters in the ballad can speak to each other on alternating lines
  • Sequences of "threes" often occur: three kisses, three tasks, three events, for example

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