Glossary of Poetry Terms Aug 21, 2004 23:10:13 GMT -5
Post by Belinda on Aug 21, 2004 23:10:13 GMT -5
[glow=red,2,300]Glossary of Poetry Terms[/glow]
The prominence or emphasis given to a syllable or word. In the word poetry, the accent (or stress) falls on the first syllable.
A line of poetry that has 12 syllables. The name probably comes from a medieval romance about Alexander the Great that was written in 12-syllable lines.
The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words: “What would the world be, once bereft/Of wet and wildness?” (Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Inversnaid”)
A metrical foot of three syllables, two short (or unstressed) followed by one long (or stressed), as in seventeen and to the moon. The anapest is the reverse of the dactyl.
A figure of speech in which words and phrases with opposite meanings are balanced against each other. An example of antithesis is “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” (Alexander Pope)
Words that are spoken to a person who is absent or imaginary, or to an object or abstract idea. The poem God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay begins with an
apostrophe: “O World, I cannot hold thee close enough!/Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!/Thy mists that roll and rise!”
The repetition or a pattern of similar sounds, especially vowel sounds: “Thou still unravished bride of quietness,/Thou foster child of silence and slow time” (“Ode to a Grecian Urn,” John Keats).
A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain. “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is an example of a ballad.
A type of poem, usually with three stanzas of seven, eight, or ten lines and a shorter final stanza (or envoy) of four or five lines. All stanzas end with the same one-line refrain.
Poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in blank verse.
A natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line. There is a caesura right after the question mark in the first line of this sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
A medieval Italian lyric poem, with five or six stanzas and a shorter concluding stanza (or envoy). The poets Petrarch and Dante Alighieri were masters of the canzone.
A Latin expression that means “seize the day.” Carpe diem poems urge the reader (or the person to whom they are addressed) to live for today and enjoy the pleasures of the moment. A famous carpe diem poem by Robert Herrick begins “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…”
chanson de geste
An epic poem of the 11th to the 14th century, written in Old French, which details the exploits of a historical or legendary figure, especially Charlemagne.
The principles and ideals of beauty that are characteristic of Greek and Roman art, architecture, and literature. Examples of classicism in poetry can be found in the works of John Dryden and Alexander Pope, which are characterized by their formality, simplicity, and emotional restraint.
A fanciful poetic image or metaphor that likens one thing to something else that is seemingly very different. An example of a conceit can be found in Shakespeare's sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?” and in Emily Dickinson's poem “There is no frigate like a book.”
The repetition of similar consonant sounds, especially at the ends of words, as in lost and past or confess and dismiss.
In a poem, a pair of lines that are the same length and usually rhyme and form a complete thought. Shakespearean sonnets usually end in a couplet.
A metrical foot of three syllables, one long (or stressed) followed by two short (or unstressed), as in happily. The dactyl is the reverse of the anapest.
A poem that laments the death of a person, or one that is simply sad and thoughtful. An example of this type of poem is Thomas Gray's “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”
The continuation of a complete idea (a sentence or clause) from one line or couplet of a poem to the next line or couplet without a pause. An example of enjambment can be found in the first line of Joyce Kilmer's poem Trees: “I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree.” Enjambment comes from the French word for “to straddle.”
The shorter final stanza of a poem, as in a ballade.
A long, serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure. Two of the most famous epic poems are the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer, which tell about the Trojan War and the adventures of Odysseus on his voyage home after the war.
A very short, witty poem: “Sir, I admit your general rule,/That every poet is a fool,/But you yourself may serve to show it,/That every fool is not a poet.” (Samuel
epithalamium (or epithalamion)
A poem in honor of a bride and bridegroom.
A rhyme that occurs in a final unstressed syllable: pleasure/leisure, longing/yearning.
figure of speech
A verbal expression in which words or sounds are arranged in a particular way to achieve a particular effect. Figures of speech are organized into different categories, such as alliteration, assonance, metaphor, metonymy, onomatopoeia, simile, and synecdoche.
Two or more syllables that together make up the smallest unit of rhythm in a poem. For example, an iamb is a foot that has two syllables, one unstressed followed by one stressed. An anapest has three syllables, two unstressed followed by one stressed.
free verse (also vers libre)
Poetry composed of either rhymed or unrhymed lines that have no set meter.
A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Haiku often reflect on some aspect of nature.
A line of poetry that has seven metrical feet.
A stanza composed of two rhymed lines in iambic pentameter.
A line of poetry that has six metrical feet.
A figure of speech in which deliberate exaggeration is used for emphasis. Many everyday expressions are examples of hyperbole: tons of money, waiting for ages, a flood of tears, etc. Hyperbole is the opposite of litotes.
A metrical foot of two syllables, one short (or unstressed) and one long (or stressed). There are four iambs in the line “Come live/ with me/ and be/ my love,” from a poem by Christopher Marlowe. (The stressed syllables are in bold.) The iamb is the reverse of the trochee.
A type of meter in poetry, in which there are five iambs to a line. (The prefix penta- means “five,” as in pentagon, a geometrical figure with five sides. Meter refers to rhythmic units. In a line of iambic pentameter, there are five rhythmic units that are iambs.) Shakespeare's plays were written mostly in iambic pentameter, which is the most common type of meter in English poetry. An example of an iambic pentameter line from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is “But soft!/ What light/ through yon/der win/dow breaks?” Another, from Richard III, is “A horse!/ A horse!/ My king/dom for/ a horse!” (The stressed syllables are in bold.)
idyll, or idyl
Either a short poem depicting a peaceful, idealized country scene, or a long poem that tells a story about heroic deeds or extraordinary events set in the distant past. Idylls of the King, by Alfred Lord Tennyson, is about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
A long narrative poem, especially one that was sung by medieval minstrels called trouvères. The Lais of Marie de France are lays.
A light, humorous poem of five usually anapestic lines with the rhyme scheme of aabba.
A figure of speech in which a positive is stated by negating its opposite. Some examples of litotes: no small victory, not a bad idea, not unhappy. Litotes is the opposite of hyperbole.
A poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. A lyric poem may resemble a song in form or style.
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