Biographical Poem: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Christina Boggs

Chrissy has taught secondary English and history and writes online curriculum. She has an M.S.Ed. in Social Studies Education.

You're probably familiar with what a biography is, but what exactly is a biographical poem? This lesson explores what makes up this form of literature, and examples of the genre.

Biographical Poems

First things first, what is a biography? Odds are, you've read at least one in your career as a student. A biography is a text written by an author about another person. That person may be dead or alive. Biographies provide all sorts of information about a person, including where they're from, their families, and major life events and achievements.

In poetry, biographical poems (also called bio poems) do the same thing as regular biographies, but with an artistic flair. Biographical poems follow a fairly standard format and include key pieces of information:

  • the person's first and last name
  • personal characteristics
  • where they lived
  • important relationships; for example, who they were married or related to
  • how that person felt and what they were afraid of
  • important achievements
  • goals, dreams, or ambitions

Many biographical poems are written about famous or historical people, or a person the poet knows, for example a friend of family member. Additionally, they could be about a fictional character, or a person that's completely imaginary and made up.

Poets write biographical poems to share information with readers about a person, leading to a better understanding of them. They're also a great way to help you remember important information. After all, reading a poem can be much more exciting and engaging than reading a plain old book!

Examples of Biographical Poems

As mentioned before, biographical poems can be written about famous or historical people, a family member or friend, or a fictional character. Read the poems below to see an example of each.

Famous Person Biographical Poem - George Washington

In the biographical poem about George Washington below, notice how it highlights major aspects of his character and life.

George

Stately, presidential, strong, devoted

Father of our country

Who loved freedom, independence, and liberty

Who hated tyranny, distrusted despotism, and wanted to build a new nation

Who feared a life without self-determination, feared losing his independence, and feared living under the rule of an unfair leader

Who led an army to victory, who fostered a fledgling nation

Who wanted to see an independent United States of America and a new democratic country

Born in Virginia and lived on Mount Vernon

Washington

Someone You Know Biographical Poem - Mom

The poem below describes someone's mother. Notice how the poem includes personal information that only the poet and people close to her mother might know.

Mom

Kind, gentle, warm, patient

Mother of Michael, Timmy, and Bobby

Who loved hot chocolate, fuzzy blankets, and bedtime stories

Who enjoys cooking dinner, hates folding laundry, and loves to help with homework

Who fears hairy spiders, garden snakes, and tornadoes

Who raised three happy children, who nurtured three little boys

Who wanted to see the Statue of Liberty and Niagara Falls

Born in Philadelphia, living in West Chester

Mom

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