Our Story

Most books on poetry forms fall into two categories:

Introductions that fail to go very deep or wide: they are comprehensible without being comprehensive.

References that are not reader-friendly: they are comprehensive without being comprehensible.

None of them are rigorously systematic, indicating what you really should know (if you are a beginner) versus what you possibly could know (if you are an expert) about poetry forms. And none of them enable you to see the relationship of the forms.


We were frustrated, so we wrote a book that does both things. And then we made it into a map.

Master Poetry Forms: A Friendly Introduction & (nearly) Exhaustive Reference is the first book of its kind. It collects nearly all the English poetic forms and present them in a way that delights, invites, and instructs. The text and the companion Master Map beautifully display the connections between these forms. Just as the Periodic Table is a systematic tool for chemists, Master Poetry Forms is a systematic tool for poets and lovers of poetry – a friendly way to master the essentials, and a trustworthy guide to the esoteric.

Whether you just want to learn the basics or you need a comprehensive reference, Master Poetry Forms was written, drawn, and designed for you.


Who We Are

David Noller, Ph.D. (author)

Was a hotshot scholar with a tenure-track position at a Research One University. Walked away from it in part to save my writing. Promptly fell down a rabbit hole of poetry forms. A minor curiosity grew into a quest. The quest? To build my own personal poetry tool box. Alas, too much of what I read was non-comprehensive or incomprehensible. Hand-sketched diagrams helped me comprehend, but details proliferated out of control, until, many years later – click – it made sense: the big picture fell into place. I felt the desire to share the big picture (and smaller details) with others. Like you. But I was determined that the visualization and explanation of this vast world be made as transparent and non-academic as possible. I especially wanted to demystify it for the poets, the makers themselves, but to do that I needed help. See the people below...

Joseph Thompson (editor)

I'm an executive coach, published poet, and an educator of 12 years. My background has always been books. I went to a Great Books program for my undergraduate and then got my Master's in English in Faulkner country, where I was surrounded by scholars, sure, but more to my delight, novelists and poets. I started writing poems of my own alongside my thesis work. I didn't get into PhD programs, which turned out beautifully for me. Instead, I immersed myself in all things education, teaching English, poetry, math, and even writing poetry curriculum for schools. I met David in between teaching jobs and his project was fascinating to me. While I started as editor, helping David cut and keep at different intervals, I am fortunate to have been invited deeper into the project to help him design his vision and midwife it into being. I've never encountered a tool like this before and I'm excited to put it into the hands of thousands and thousands of aspiring poets.

David Harman (The Map Maker)

I'm a painter by trade (MFA) and map-maker by day. I founded a little company called Native Maps, and I specialize in making hand-printed, research-driven neighborhood maps of cities across the U.S. In design, I tend to love making complex ideas clear. These guys liked my maps and they thought I was the right guy to visualize this sprawling mess of ideas and hand-drawn diagrams all into one single “master map.” Seeing how ambitious this project was, I tried saying no a handful of times but was drawn in by the challenge of creating something so useful that simply hadn't been done before. We found the right software to make an initial rough draft, getting all of the information in a single place, and now I've turned that into a print you will want to hang on your wall.


What We Believe

We believe that you have at least one great poem to write.

We believe that your voice is a combination of what you have to say, yes, but also how you say it.

We believe that a knowledge of the forms can make a non-poet a passable poet; a passable poet a fair poet; a fair poet a good poet; and a good poet a great poet. We created this for both the novice and the Nobel laureate alike.

We believe that you can find your form. We believe that you will write your one great poem.


What We Make

A Book


This is your Friendly Introduction & (nearly) Exhaustive Reference. The one book you will want to keep on your shelf for long-term poetry study and practice.

  • Nearly 400 pages
  • Clearly written
  • Illustrated with with over 150 diagrams
  • Fully indexed for easy reference
  • Hardbound with a dust jacket


A Master Map (20" x 30")

The Master Map is an art print suitable for framing and display in a gallery, living room, bedroom, dorm room, office or classroom.

  • Gorgeous full color
  • Printed on hefty 100# coated paper
  • Designed by David Harman of Native Maps 
  • Shipped rolled in a sturdy cardboard tube



A Personal Map (16"x 20")

  • Printed on sturdy 100# cover weight, archival (art-quality) paper
  • Perfect for a smaller bedroom, dorm room, office or any place where you want to display a totem of your allegiance to the tribe of poets.


An Essential Map

A more focused and portable version of the Master Map. The Essential Map corresponds to the forms marked in the book as essential knowledge for any reasonably knowledgeable poet or lover of poetry. A great option for teachers and classrooms.

  • 12" x 18"
  • Black & white
  • Printed on 70# paper
  • Shipped flat and quarter-folded
  • Also designed by David Harman of Native Maps