Glossary / Life Style

Poetry Glossary

Accent: A stressed syllable or ictus. These alternate with unstressed syllables or slacks to produce a theor
Accentual Verse: Lines whose rhythm arises from its stressed syllables rather than from the number of its syllables,
Accentual-Syllabic Verse: Lines whose rhythm arises by the number and alternation of its stressed and unstressed syllables, or
Acephalous: A line of verse without its expected initial syllable.
Acrostic: A word, phrase, or passage spelled out vertically by the first letters of a group of lines in sequen
Action Poetry: Verse written for performance by several voices.
Adonic: A classical greek and latin metre, a dimeter with a dactyl and a spondee / ~ ' ' / ' ' / such as are
Aesthetic Movement: A literary belief that art is its own justification and purpose, advocated in england by walter pate
Alcaics: A four-line classical stanza named after alcaeus, a greek poet, with a predominantly dactylic metre,
Alexandrine: A metrical line of six feet or twelve syllables (in english), originally from french heroic verse. R
Allegory: Henry cockeram, in his english dictionary (1623), explains this as 'a sentence that must be understo
Alliteration: Using the same consonant to start two or more stressed words or syll= ables in a phrase or verse lin
Allusion: A reference to a historical, mythic, or literary person, place, event, movement, etc.
Ambiguity: A statement with two or more meanings that may seem to exclude one another in the context. Grammatic
Amphibrach: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of short, long, and short syllables / ~ ' ~ / (cf. The engl
Amphimacer : A greek and latin metrical foot consisting of long, short, and long syllables / ' ~ ' / (cf. The eng
Amphisbaenic Rhyme: A reversed rhyme, such as 'trot' and 'tort.'
Amplification: Rhetorical figures of speech that repeat and vary the expression of a thought.
Anachronism: Someone or something belonging to another time period than the one in which it is described as being
Anacoluthon : An interruption in a sentence, sometimes indicated by a pause, that is afterwards restarted in a syn
Anacreontic Verse: Imitations of the 6th-century b.c. greek poet anacreon, who wrote about love and wine. Thomas moore
Anacrucis: One or two unstressed syllables at the beginning of a line that are unnecessary to the metre.
Anadiplosis : A repetition of the last word in a line or segment at the start of the next line or segment.
Anagram: A word spelled out by rearranging the letters of another word. When both lexical forms appear in the
Analepsis: A flashback.
Analogue: Usually a semantic or narrative feature in one work said to resemble something in another work, with
Anapest : A metrical foot consisting of two unaccented syllables followed by an accented one. Examples include
Anaphora : Successive phrases, clauses, or lines start with the same word or words. Emily bront?'s 'remembrance
Antepenultima: The second last word of a line, or the second last syllable of a word.
Anthropomorphism: A figure of speech where the poet characterizes an abstract thing or object as if it were a person.
Antibacchic: Classical greek and latin foot consisting of long, long, and short syllables / ' ' ~ / . An english
Antiphon: A sacred poem with responses or alternative parts.
Antispast: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of short, long, long, and short syllables (i.e., an iambus
Antisthecon Or Wrenched Rhyme: A rhyme created by distorting a word, such as 'samoa' for 'some more of' in the limerick 'an old mai
Antistrophe : (1) a reply to the strophe, and the second stanza in a pindaric ode: or (2) the repetition of the sa
Antithesis: Contrasting or combining two terms, phrases, or clauses with opposed or antithetical meanings.
Antonomasia : Using an epithet or a title in place of a proper name.
Antonymy: Semantic contrasts.
Aphesis: The omission of the initial syllable of a word. See also apocope.
Aphorism: One writer's citation of another, known author's truism or pithy remark.
Apocopated Rhym: an imperfect rhyme between the final syllable of a word and the penultimate syllable of another word
Apocope: The omission of the last syllable of a word. See also aphesis.
Aporia: Explained by samuel johnson, in his great dictionary (1755), as 'a figure in rhetorick, by which the
Aposiopesis: An interruption of an expresion without a subsequent restarting. See also anacoluthon.
Apostrophe : An address to a dead or absent person or personification as if he or she were present.
Archaism: Using obsolete or archaic words when current alternatives are available.
Archetype: Something in the world, and described in literature, that, according to the psychologist karl jung,
Asclepiad: A classical metrical line made up of a spondee, two or three choriambs, and one iamb or spondee, i.e
Assonance : The rhyming of a word with another in one or more of their accented vowels, but not in their consona
Asyndeton : Lists of words, phrases, or expressions without conjunctions such as 'and' and 'or' to link them. Ge
Atmosphere: The mood or pervasive feeling insinuated by a literary work.
Aubade : A medieval love poem welcoming or lamenting the arrival of the dawn. An example is john donne's 'the
Augustan: English literature at the beginning of the 18th century by poets such as addison, pope, and swift, w
Aureate Language: Polysyllabic latinate poetic diction employed especially by the scottish chaucerians. See poetic dic
Bacchic: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of short, long, and long syllables / ~ ' ' /.
Ballad: A popular song, often recited aloud, narrating a story, and passed down orally. Over 300 traditional
Ballad Stanza: Quatrain rhyming abcb and alternating four-stress and three-stress lines.
Ballade: Poem with three seven-, eight-, or ten-line stanzas and refrain. Respectively, these have the rhyme
Bard: Originally a celtic name for a poet-singer.
Bathos : Alexander pope's peri-bathous, or the art of sinking in poetry (1728) describes bathos as a poet's f
Beat Poets: A san francisco-based group of counter-culture poets such as allen ginsberg, lawrence ferlinghetti,
Black Mountain Poets: Charles olson, robert creeley, and robert duncan, all associated with black mountain college, north
Blank Verse: Unrhyming iambic pentameter, also called heroic verse, a ten-syllable line and the usual rhythm of e
Blues: Oral black american folk or popular melancholic songs of the early twentieth century.
Bob: A one-foot line in certain stanzaic forms of medieval alliterative poetry, such as sir gawain and th
Bombast: Hyperbolic or wildly exaggerating speech, so-called after a kind of cotton stuffing.
Bouts Rimés: A french name, meaning 'rhymed ends,' for a popular 18th-century game where poems had to be built ar
Bretan Lay: Brief narrative poems about arthurian subjects. E.g., chaucer's franklin's tale.
Broadside Ballads: Poems printed on one side of a single sheet during the renaissance period.
Broken Rhyme: Rhyming with an initial or medial syllable of a word that is split between two lines with a hyphen.
Bucolic : Sir thomas elyot's latin-english dictionary (1538) explains 'bucolicum carmen, a poeme made of herdm
Burden: The choric line or lines that signal the end or the beginning of a stanza in a carol or hymn.
Burlesque: A work caricaturing another serious work. An example is samuel butler's hudibras.
Burns Stanza Or Meter: Six-line stanza with the rhyme scheme aaabab (where a is a tetrameter line, and b is a dimeter line)
Cadence: The ametrical rhythm of natural speech.
Caesura : A stop or pause in a metrical line, often marked by punctuation or by a grammatical boundary, such a
Canon: Someone's list of authors or works considered to be 'classic,' that is, central to the identity of a
Canto: Subdivision of an italian epic or long narrative poem, such as dante's divina commedia, first employ
Canzone: Hendecasyllabic lines in stanza form. William drummond of hawthornden adapted the canzone to english
Carol: A hymn or poem often sung, as at christmas, by a group, with an individual taking the changing stanz
Caroline: Literature of the reign of charles i (1625-42), especially the by the calvalier poets, who numbered
Carpe diem : Seize the day, live while you can, savour the moment, a subject typical of begging love poems such a
Catachresis : An eccentric metaphor.
Catalectic: A type of verse termed by george puttenham in 1589 'maimed' because it is missing a syllable in the
Catalogue Verse: Poems with lists that perform an encyclopedic purpose, lending high seriousness to a topic. Lewis ca
Caudate Sonnet: Codas or tails are added to the 14-line poem. An example is john milton's 'on the new forces of cons
Celtic Revival: Irish poets such as george russell (ae), james joyce, john m. Synge, and w. B. Yeats who drew on cel
Chanson : A medieval lyric.
Chant Royale: A complex french form of the ballade, having various forms.
Chiasmus : Repetition of any group of verse elements in reverse order.
Choka: Japanese form with alternating lines of five and seven syllables, ending with a couplet of seven-syl
Choree: A trochee.
Choriamb: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of long, short, short, and long syllables / ' ~ ~ ' /: also
Cinquain: A verse form of five lines with lines of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables.
Circumlocution: Speaking around a point rather than getting to it, such as s. T. Coleridge's 'twice five miles of fe
Clerihew: A form of light verse invented by edmund clerihew bentley, consisting of two couplets and having the
Cockney School Of Poetry: A mocking name for london romantic poets such as john keats and leigh hunt (from a scathing review i
Common Measure: A quatrain that rhymes abab and alternates four-stress and three-stress iambic lines (each pair equi
Complaint: A lament or satiric attack on social evils, such as chaucer's 'complaint to his purse,' the opening
Conceit : A complicated intellectual metaphor. Petrarchan conceits drew on conventional sensory imagery popula
Concrete Poetry: Verse that emphasizes non-linguistic elements in its meaning, such as typeface that gives a visual i
Confessional Poetry: Vividly sensational self-revelatory verse, a literary movement led by american poets from allen gins
Connotation: Those words, things, or ideas with which a word often keeps company but which it does not actually d
Consonance: Sometimes just a resemblance in sound between two words, or an initial or head rhyme like alliterati
Content Words: Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and most adverbs, words that carry the content of a sentence: these are al
Convention: A common way of doing something, such as a poetic form, or a common topic like the 'carpe diem' or '
Corona : A sonnet sequence where the last line in one sonnet becomes the first line of the next sonnet, and t
Counting-Out Rhymes: verse memory aids for children learning how to count, such as 'One, two, buckle my shoe, / Three, fo
Couplet: A pair of successive rhyming lines, usually of the same length, termed 'closed' when they form a bou
Cretic: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of long, short, and long syllables.
Curtal Sonnet: A short sonnet devised by gerard manley hopkins that maintains the proportions of the italian form (
Dactyl: A metrical foot consisting of an accented syllable followed by two unaccented ones / ' ~ ~ /. Exampl
Dead Metaphor: An originally metaphoric expression in which the implied comparison has been forgotten and is taken
Débat: A medieval poem in dialogue that takes the form of a debate on a topic. An example is the owl and th
Deictic: Words that point to particulars, as names and pronouns do for individual places and persons (such as
Denotation: what a word points to, names, or refers to, either in the world of things or in the mind.
Didactic Verse: Poems that exist so as to teach the readers something, often a moral.
Dimeter: Two feet: sometimes termed dipody, a double foot, that is, one measure made up of two feet. An examp
Dirge: A brief funeral hymn or song. An example is henry king's exequy.
Dissonance: Cacaphony, or harsh-sounding language.
Distich: Two lines related to one another. A major greek and latin metre is the elegiac distich, a pair of da
Dithyramb: Choral hymn in honour of dionysius, the greek god of wine, and an influence on the english ode. An e
Dizain: A stanza or poem of ten lines.
Doggerel: Bad verse, characterized by clich?s, incomprehensibility, and an irregular metre.
Double Dactyl: A form of light verse invented by anthony hecht and john hollander. The double dactyl consists of tw
Dramatic Monologue: A poem representing itself as a speech made by one person to a silent listener, usually not the read
Dream Vision: A (traditionally medieval) poet's relation of how he fell asleep and had an often allegorical dream.
Duplet: A two-syllable foot.
Eclogue : A brief pastoral poem, set in an idyllic rural place but discussing urban, court, political, or soci
Elegiac Stanza: A quatrain with the rhyme scheme abab written in iambic pentameter. See also distich.
Elegy: A greek or latin form in alternating dactylic hexameter and dactylic pentameter lines: and a melanch
Elision: Omission of a consonant (e.g., 'ere' for 'ever') or a vowel (e.g., 'tother' for 'the other'), usuall
Ellipsis: The non-metrical omission of letters or words whose absence does not impede the reader's ability to
End-Stopped: A verse line ending at a grammatical boundary or break, such as a dash, a closing parenthesis, or pu
English Sonnet: Also known ad shakesperian sonnet. The englished form of the italian sonnet, developed by sir thomas
Enjambement: The running over of a sentence or phrase from one verse to the next, without terminal punctuation, h
Envoy: The brief stanza that ends a poem such as the ballade or the sestina. See also tornada.
Epic: An extended narrative poem with a heroic or superhuman protagonist engaged in an action of great sig
Epic Simile: Extended comparison or cluster of similes or metaphors.
Epigram: A brief witty poem. Randle cotgrave (1611) translates 'epigramme' as 'an epigram: a couplet, stanzo,
Epigraph: A quotation, taken from another literary work, that is placed at the start of a poem under the title
Epistle: A verse epistle imitates the form of a personal letter, addressed to someone in particular, often ve
Epistrophe: Successive phrases, lines, or clauses that repeat the same word or words at their ends.
Epitaph: A burial inscription, often in verse. Philip reder's epitaphs (london: michael joseph, 1969) collect
Epithalamion: Lyric poem in praise of hymen (the greek god of marriage) or of a particular wedding, such as edmund
Epitrite: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of short, long, long, and long syllables / ~ ' ' ' / in any
Epizenxis: Repetition of a word several times without connectives.
Epode : The third section (or the stand) of a pindaric ode, after the strophe and antistophe.
Euphony: A pleasing harmony of sounds.
Exemplum: A narrative that teaches a moral.
Eye Rhyme: Words rhyming only as spelled, not as pronounced, and hence not a perfect or true rhyme. An example
Fabliau: A bawdy medieval verse narrative, originally french but adapted by geoffrey chaucer's in 'the miller
Falling Metre: Trochees and dactyls, i.e., a stressed syllable followed by one or two unstressed syllables.
Feminine Rhyme: Gendered expression for rhymes ending in one or more unstressed syllables, such as 'fruity' and 'boo
Figure Of Speech: One of many kinds of word-play, focusing either on sound and word-order (schemes) or on semantics (t
Flyting: A poem of invective by two speakers trying to out-humiliate one another.
Folk Song: Popular, often anonymous sung lyrics that may be passed on by word-of-mouth originally before being
Foot: The basic unit of measurement of accentual-syllabic metre, usually thought to contain one stressed s
Formula: An often repeated phrase, sometimes half-a-line long and metrically distinctive.
Found Poem: A passage in a piece of prose shaped by a reader into quasi-metrical lines and republished as a poem
Free Verse: Rhythmical but non-metrical, non-rhyming lines. These may have a deliberate rhythm or cadence but se
Georgian: When characterizing poetry, work written in the reigns of the four georges (1714-1830) or in the rei
Georgic Poems: Characterizing the life of the farmer.
Ghazal: An eastern verse form consisting of successive couplets whose lines all end with the same refrain ph
Glyconic: A greek and roman metre that consists of a spondee, a choriamb, and an iamb / ' ' / ' ~ ~ ' / ~ ' /
Gnomic Verse: Poems laced with proverbs, aphorisms, or maxims.
Graveyard School: 18th-century poets such as thomas gray, robert blair, and edward young who penned gloomy poems on de
Grue: Slangy nickname for 'gruesome' verse. Cf. Sick verse.
Haiku: Japanese poem of three unrhyming lines in 5, 7, and 5 syllables. For example, windshield wipers swis
Half-Line: part of a line bounded by a caesura or some upper limit of syllables or stresses.
Half-Rhyme: Rhyming only with the consonants in the terminal syllable(s) of a multi-syllable word. An example is
Hemistich: part of a line bounded by a caesura or some upper limit of syllables or stresses.
Hendecasyllabic: A classical greek and latin metrical line consisting of eleven syllables, a spondee or trochee, a ch
Hendiadys : A pair of nouns linked by 'and' that are substituted for an adjective-noun pair. Shakespeare was esp
Heptameter: Seven feet, a measure made up of seven feet (fourteeners). Examples are chapman's translation of hom
Hexameter: Six feet: sometimes termed hexapody, a six-part foot, one measure made up of six feet. An example is
Hovering Stress: A metrical accent that may apply to either of two sequential syllables, but not to both, and so seem
Hudibrastic Poetry: Iambic tetrameter couplets like those in samuel butler's hudibras.
Hymn: A poem praising god or other divine being or place, often sung. E.g., sabine baring-gould, john henr
Hyperbaton : Inversion of word-order, e.g., noun-adjective.
Hyperbole: Exaggeration beyond reasonable credence. An example is the close of john donne's holy sonnet 'death,
Hypermetric: A verse with one or more syllables than the metre calls for, a line with metrically redundant syllab
Iamb, Iambus: A metrical foot consisting of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one. This is the rhythm
Iambic Trimeter: A classical greek and latin metre with three iambic feet (also known in english as the alexandrine).
Ictus: The stress.
Identical Rhymes: Using the same word, identically in sound and in sense, twice in rhyming position.
Idyll: Either a pastoral poem about shepherds or an epyllion, a brief epic that depicts a heroic episode. A
Image: An expression that describes a literal sensation, whether of hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and
Imagism: A movement of early 20th-century poets who used colloquial, concise, and image-laden language, not p
In Memoriam Stanza: Quatrain with the rhyme scheme abba (sometimes termed an envelope), written in iambic tetrameter, an
Internal Rhyme: Rhymes between a word within a line, often from a medial position (termed also leonine) and one at t
Ionic: A classical greek and latin double foot consisting of two unstressed syllables and two stressed syll
Irony: Stating something by saying another quite different thing, sometimes its opposite. An example is sir
Isochronous Metre: All stressed syllables are separated in isochronous metre by equal duration of time no matter how ma
Isocolon: A line or lines that consist of clauses of equal length.
Italian Sonnet: A fourteen-line poem with two sections, an octave (eight-line stanza rhyming abbaabba), and a sestet
Kenning: a compound word in Old English poetry that replaces the usual name for something, often involving me
Kyrielle: A middle french verse form composed of quatrains which each share the same second and fourth lines.
Light Verse: Whimsical, amusing poems such as limericks, nonsense poems, and double dactyls, practised by such as
Limerick: A fixed verse form appearing first in the history of sixteen wonderful old women (1820), popularized
Line: A unit of verse whose length is prescribed by a criterion other than the right-hand margin of the pa
Litotes : A deliberate understatement.
Little Willy: A comic verse form, often a quatrain rhyming aabb but really identified by its content, the gruesome
Liverpool Poets: A 1960s group of popular writers from the west-england city of liverpool, including adrian henri, ro
Luc-bat : A vietnamese poetic form of syllablic couplets, alternating six and eight syllables, where the first
Lyric: Short poem in which the poet, the poet's persona, or a speaker expresses personal feelings, and ofte
Macaronic Verse: Poems that consist of expressions in more than one language. John skelton wrote several poems in thi
Madrigal: An italian short poem or part song suitable for singing by three or more voices, first appearing in
Maker: A medieval and early renaissance term for 'poet.'
Masculine Rhyme: Gendered expression for rhymes ending in a stressed syllable, such as 'hells' and 'bells.' the expre
Metaphor: A comparison that is made literally, either by a verb (for example, john keats' 'beauty is truth, tr
Metaphysical Poets: John donne (1572-1631) and his imitators, including george herbert, andrew marvell, abraham cowley,
Metonymy : A figure of speech in which the poet substitutes a word normally associated with something for the t
Metre : The rhythm of verse, reduceable to one of four kinds, accentual, syllabic, accentual-syllabic, and q
Mixed Metaphor: two awkwardly-yoked metaphors, such as 'kicking the spurs of zeal on the road to Abraham's bosom.'
Mock Epic: A poem amusingly subverting the conventions of the epic, more often to comment on a topic satiricall
Mock-Heroic: Treating something trivial with high seriousness, as in john philips' the splendid shilling.
Molossus: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of long, long, and long syllables / ' ' ' /.
Monometer: One foot: sometimes termed monopody, a single foot, one measure made up of one foot. For example, th
Monorhyme: The use of only one rhyme in a stanza. An example is william blake's 'silent, silent night.'
Motif: An image or action in a literary work that is shared by other works and that is sometimes thought to
Muses: William bullokar's english dictionary (1616) explains them as 'the feyned goddesses of poetry, and m
Naga-Uta: Japanese form of indeterminate length that alternates lines of five and seven syllables and ends wit
Negative Capability: John keats, in a letter of october 27, 1818, suggested that a poet, possessing the power to eliminat
Neoclassicism: A 'new classicism,' as in the writings of early 18th-century writers like addison and pope who imita
Neologism: A newly-coined word, like lewis carroll's 'jabberwocky.'
Nonsense Verse: Lines that read like word-salad, where individually the terms may be recognizable but in their order
Objectification: A figure of speech where the poet treats an abstract thing or object as if it were a place. Edmund s
Objective Correlative: T. S. Eliot used this phrase to describe 'a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which sha
Occasional Poem: A poem written to describe or comment on a particular event or occasion. Examples are andrew marvell
Occupatio: A figure of rhetoric where a writer explains that he or she will not have time or space to say somet
Octameter: A verse containing eight feet. Algernon charles swinburne's 'march: an ode,' robert browning's 'a to
Octave: An eight-line stanza or poem, of which there are several types: ababbcbc: chaucer's stanzaic form in
Octosyllabic: Having eight syllables.
Ode: A poem of high seriousness with irregular stanzaic forms. The regular pindaric or greek ode imitates
Onomatopeia : An instance where the sound of a word directly imitates its meaning (for example, 'choo-choo,' 'hiss
Ottava Rima: An italian stanza of eight 11-syllable lines, with the rhyme scheme abababcc, introduced by sir thom
Oxymoron: An expression impossible in fact but not necessarily self-contradictory, such as john milton's descr
Paeon: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of three short and one long syllables: the first paeon / '
Palindromes: Thomas blount's english dictionary (1656) explains that 'palindromes (gr.) Are those sentences or ve
Palinode: An ode or song that retracts what the poet wrote in a previous poem: a recantation.
Panegyric: A poem in great praise of someone or something.
Pantoum: A french verse form of four quatrains that repeats entire lines in a strict pattern, 1234, 2546, 576
Pantun: Mayan antecedent of the pantoum, with a single quatrain, rhyming aabb, couplets that at first readin
Paradox: A self-contradictory phrase or sentence, such as 'the ascending rain' or alexander pope's descriptio
Paralipsis : A figure of thought where less information is supplied than appears to be called for by the circumst
Parallelism: Two or more expressions that share traits, whether metrical, lexical, figurative, or grammatical, an
Pararhyme: Edmund blunden's term for double consonance, where different vowels appear within identical consonan
Parataxis: Linking clauses just by sequencing them, often without conjunction(s) and only by means of associati
Parody: A not-uncomplimentary send-up of another work, such as geoffrey chaucer's 'sir thopas' in the canter
Paronomasia : Punning, a play of meaning by yoking similar-sounding words. See pun.
Pastiche: Work patched together from excerpts of other writers, or from passages clearly recognizable as imita
Pastoral: Following theocritus (3rd cent. B.c.), verse about those shepherds and their beloveds who lived the
Pathetic Fallacy: An expression that endows inanimate things with human feelings.
Pattern Poetry: Verse that creates the shape of its subject typographically on the page (and thus also called 'shape
PEN: Acronym for the association, poets, playwrights, editors, essayists and novelists (1921-).
Pentameter: Five feet: sometimes termed pentapody, a five-part foot, one measure made up of five feet. Iambic pe
Periphrasis: Using a wordy phrase to describe something for which one term exists.
Persona: The speaker of a poem, a dramatic character distinguished from the poet, such as robert browning's '
Personification: An anthropomorphic figure of speech where the poet describes an abstraction, a thing, or a non-human
Petrachan Sonnet: A fourteen-line poem with two sections, an octave (eight-line stanza rhyming abbaabba), and a sestet
Pherecratean: A classical greek and latin metrical pattern consisting of an iamb or a trochee, a dactyl, and a tro
Phonemic Alphabet: The twelve vowel sounds and twenty-two consonant sounds that make up spoken english, normally encode
Phonolexis: A term coined by philip davies roberts to describe 'meaning conveyed through phonemic connotation li
Pleonasm: Unnecessary verbiage, redundancy as in 'it was a dark and lightless night.'
Poem: Defined by samuel johnson in his great dictionary (1755) as 'the work of a poet: a metrical composit
Poesy: The art and craft of making poems, or the poems themselves.
Poet Laureate: Apollo degreed that poets should receive laurels as a prize. The british crown created the post of p
Poetaster: A vile petty poet (samuel johnson, 1755).
Poetic Diction: A conventional subset of english vocabulary, phrasing, and grammatical usage judged appropriate for
Poetic License: The freedom to depart from correctness and grammaticality sometimes extended to poets by generous re
Poetry: A form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a gr
Poets Corner: An area in the south transept of westminster abbey that holds monuments (or graves) for such as geof
Polyptoton: Repetition of the same word in different forms, achieved by varying the case, adding affixes, etc.
Polysyndeton: A figure of speech where successive clauses or phrases are linked by one or more conjunctions.
Portmanteau Word: Lewis carroll's phrase for a neologism created by combining two existing words. His 'jabberwocky,' f
Poulters Measure: Couplets in which a twelve-syllable line rhymes with a fourteen-syllable line. Chapman uses this for
Prizes For Poetry: Examples include the bollingen, (british) arts council, queen's gold medal for poetry, newdigate pri
Proceleus Maticus: A classical greek and latin foot having four short syllables.
Prolepsis: Anticipation.
Prose Poem: Continuous, non-end-stopped writing that has other traits of poetry and is, from its context, associ
Prosopopoeia : Lending speech to something inanimate. See also personification.
Pun: An expression that uses a homonym (two different words spelled identically) to deliver two or more m
Pure Poetry: Verse that aims to delight rather than to instruct the reader.
Purple Passage: Lines that stand out from a longer poem because of their vivid diction or figures of speech, and per
Pyrrhic: A metrical foot consisting of two unaccented syllables.
Pythiambic: A classical greek and latin metrical form, dactylic hexameter and iambic trimeter couplets.
Quadruplet: A four-syllable foot.
Quantitative Metre: Lines whose rhythm depends on the duration or length of time a line takes to utter. That duration de
Quatrain: A four-line stanza, rhyming, abac or abcb (unbounded, or ballad), as in 'sir patrick spence' and sam
Quintain: A five-line stanza, such as a limerick or edmund waller's 'go lovely rose.' also called a cinquain.
Refrain: One or more lines repeated before or after the stanzas of a poem.
Renga: Japanese form comprising half-tanka written by different poets.
Reverdie: A medieval song celebrating the coming of spring, such as 'sumer is icumen in' and 'lenten ys come w
Reverse Sonnet: A comic form invented in wilfred owens' sonnet 'hand trembling towards hand,' which starts with the
Rhetorical Question: The poet asks a question without expecting to learn anything from the response, or to pose any diffi
Rhopalic verse : Poems whose lines start short and get longer and longer.
Rhyme: Normally end-rhyme, that is, lines of verse characterized by the consonance of terminal words or syl
Rhyme Royal: A stanza of seven ten-syllable lines, rhyming ababbcc, popularized by geoffrey chaucer in troilus an
Rhythm : An audible metrical pattern inside verse boundaries established by the pause.
Rich Rhyme: Rhymes identical in sound (or spelling) but semantically different, e.g., 'felicity was present | to
Rime Couée: Tail rhyme, a stanza in which a usually closing short line rhymes with a previous short line and is
Rising Metre: iambs and anapests, i.e., one or two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one.
Romance: Long narrative poems in french about courtly culture and secret love that triumphed in english with
Romanticism: The late 18th-century, early 19th-century period of wordsworth, coleridge, keats, shelley, and byron
Rondeau: A mainly octosyllabic poem consisting of between ten and fifteen lines, having only two rhymes and w
Rondeau Redoublé: five quatrains and a closing quintain, using two rhymes. The first quatrain consists of four refrain
Rondel, Roundel: Poetic forms of 11-14 lines where the first two lines are repeated in the middle and at the end, and
Roundelay: A lyric poems with a refrain.
Scansion: The scanning of verse, that is, dividing it into metrical feet and identifying its rhythm by encodin
Scheme: Figure of speech that varies the order and sound of words. Examples include alliteration, assonance,
Scop: The name for an old english poet-singer.
Septet: A seven-line stanza. See also rhyme royal.
Sestet: A six-line stanza, or the final six lines of a 14-line italian or petrarchan sonnet.
Sestina: A poem consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy, where the words ending the lines o
Sextain: a stanza or poem or six lines: aaabab: the Robert Burns stanza, ababcc: For example, Shakespeare's V
Sick Verse: Mordant, black-humoured or horrific works such as edgar allan poe's 'the raven,' robert browning's '
Silent Stress: A noticeable pause or musical rest with all the value of a beat in highly rhythmic verse. An example
Simile: A comparison made with 'as,' 'like,' or 'than.'
Singlet: A one-syllable foot.
Skeltonic Verse: Short, roughhewn lines in variable-length stanzas reusing a small number of rhymes, popularized by j
Slack: Unstressed syllable.
Sonnet : In the renaissance, a brief song or lyric of indeterminate rhyme scheme, but also a 14-line poem pat
Sonnet Redoublé: Fifteen sonnets, of which the last consists of all the repeated lines linking the other fourteen son
Sonnet Sequence: A group of sonnets sharing the same subject matter and sometimes a dramatic situation and persona. S
Spasmodic School: P. J. Bailey, sydney dobell, alexander smith and other late romantic, early victorian minor poets.
Spenserian Sonnet: A fourteen-line poem developed by edmund spenser in his amoretti that varies the english form by int
Spenserian Stanza: The unit of edmund spenser's faerie queene, consisting of eight iambic-pentameter lines and a final
Spondee: A metrical foot consisting of two accented syllables / ' ' /. An example of a spondaic word is 'hog-
Sprung Rhythm: A metrical system devised by gerard manley hopkins that has 1-to-4-syllable feet, each starting with
Stanza : A group of verses separated from other such groups in a poem and often sharing a common rhyme scheme
Stichomythia : Dialogue in alternate verse-lines.
Stress: A syllable uttered in a higher pitch than others. The language determines how english words are stre
Stretched Sonnet: One extended to sixteen or more lines, such as george meredith's 'modern love.'
Strophe : The section of a greek ode sung when the chorus turns from one side of the orchestra to the other.
Sublime: The main characteristic of great poetry, longinus held, was sublimity or high, grand, ennobling seri
Submerged Sonnet: A sonnet hidden inside a longer poetic work, such as lines 235-48 of t. S. Eliot's the waste land.
Syllabic Verse: Lines whose rhythm arises by the number of its syllables. Examples include thomas nashe's 'adieu, fa
Syllable: A vowel preceded by from zero to three consonants ('awl' ... 'strand'), and followed by from zero to
Symbol : Something in the world of the senses, including an action, that manifests (reveals) or signifies (is
Symbolist Movement: Late 19th-century french writers, including mallarmé and valéry, whose verse dealt with transcende
Synaeresis, Synaloepha: The contraction of two syllables into one, for metrical purposes, by changing two adjacent syllables
Syncope: The elision of an unstressed syllable so as to keep to a strict accentual-syllabic metre. This can b
Synecdoche : A figure of speech where the part stands for the whole (for example, 'i've got wheels' for 'i have a
Synesthesia: A blending of different senses in describing something.
Synthetic Rhyme: A forced rhyme in which the spelling and sound of a word are distorted.
Syzygy : Using different types of feet (e.g., iambic and trochaic) in the same verse.
Tail Rhyme: A stanza that has an extra short line (a tail, a tag) that rhymes with another such line. Cf. Bob an
Tail Rhyme: A stanza with a tail, tag, or extra short line that may rhyme with another such line later on. Chauc
Tanka: Japanese form of five lines with five, seven, five, seven, and seven syllables, 31 in all. English e
Tautology: A statement redundant in itself, such as 'the stars, o astral bodies!'
Telestich: Spelling out a word, a phrase, or name vertically in sequence down the last letters of verse lines i
Tercet, Terzet: a rhyming triplet, found in sequences such as: aaa bbb (for example, Thomas Hardy's 'The Convergence
Terza Rima: An italian stanzaic form, used by dante in his divina commedia, consisting of tercets with interwove
Terzain: A stanza of three lines.
Tetrameter: Four feet, a measure made up of four feet. Shakespeare's 'fear no more the heat of the sun' is an ex
The Fleshly School Of Poetry: The phrase that robert williams buchanan coined for dante gabriel rossetti and his imitators in a sc
Theme: A prevailing idea in a work, but sometimes not explicitly stated, as in ogden nash's 'candy is dandy
Tone: The poet's attitude to the poem's subject as the reader interprets that, sometimes through the tone
Tornada: A three-line envoy that include the rhymes of all preceding stanzas.
Travesty: A work that deflates something that is treated by another work with high seriousness.
Tribrach: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of short, short, and short syllables / ~ ~ ~ /.
Trimeter: Three feet: sometimes termed tripody, a triple foot, one measure made up of three feet. An example i
Triolet: An eight-line stanza having just two rhymes and repeating the first line as the fourth and seventh l
Triplet: A three-syllable foot, or a three-line stanza, with a single rhyme. For example, robert herrick's 'u
Trochee: A metrical foot consisting of an accented syllable followed by an unaccented syllable. Examples of t
Trope : A semantic figure of speech or of thought that varies the meaning of a word or passage. Examples inc
Ubi sunt : A medieval commonplace that reveals the mutability of all things, the loss of all through death, by
Vers De Société: Sophisticated light verse of a kind appealing to the gentry. Poets writing in this vein include char
Verse: As a mass noun, poetry in general (but in a non-judgmental sense): and, as a regular noun, a line of
Verse Paragraph: A group of verse lines that make up a discourse unit, the first verse of which is sometimes indented
Victorian: Verse written in the reign of victoria, from 1837 to 1903.
Villanelle: An italian verse form consisting of five three-line stanzas (tercets) and a final quatrain, possessi
Virelay: A medieval french poetic form, consisting of short lines in stanzas with only two rhymes, where the
Voiced And Unvoiced: Consonants are voiced when the vocal cords move (/b/) and unvoiced when they remain still (/p/).
Wheel: An alliterative rhyming quatrain with four-stress lines that follows the so-called bob, known togeth
Zeugma : Thomas thomas's latin-english dictionary (1587) translates this as 'a figure whereby many clauses ar

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