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Glossary of Poetic Terms

Popular Poetry Terms

❶The numbers of feet are given below.


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Abecedarian Related to acrostic, a poem in which the first letter of each line or stanza follows sequentially through the alphabet. Accentual verse Verse whose meter is determined by the number of stressed accented syllables—regardless of the total number of syllables—in each line. Accentual-syllabic verse Verse whose meter is determined by the number and alternation of its stressed and unstressed syllables, organized into feet. From line to line, the number of stresses accents may vary, but the total number of syllables within each line is fixed.

The majority of English poems from the Renaissance to the 19th century are written according to this metrical system. Acmeism An early 20th-century Russian school of poetry that rejected the vagueness and emotionality of Symbolism in favor of Imagist clarity and texture. Acrostic A poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word, name, or phrase when read vertically. Allegory An extended metaphor in which the characters, places, and objects in a narrative carry figurative meaning.

Alliteration The repetition of initial stressed, consonant sounds in a series of words within a phrase or verse line. Allusion A brief, intentional reference to a historical, mythic, or literary person, place, event, or movement. Ambiguity A word, statement, or situation with two or more possible meanings is said to be ambiguous. In both cases, the meaning of the word is not obvious from its context.

A comparison between two unlike things, this describes one thing as if it were something else. Does not use "like" or "as" for the comparison see simile. An elaborate and extended metaphor or simile that links two apparently unrelated fields or subjects in an unusual and surprising conjunction of ideas. The term is commonly applied to the metaphorical language of a number of early seventeenth-century poets, particularly John Donne.

See "To His Coy Mistress". The number of feet within a line of traditional verse. The first eight lines of an Italian or Petrarchan sonnet, unified by rhythm, rhyme, and topic.

A blending of consonant and vowel sounds designed to imitate or suggest the activity being described. A rhetorical figure embodying a seeming contradiction that is nonetheless true. Attributing human characteristics to nonhuman things or abstractions. A sonnet 14 lines of rhyming iambic pentameter that divides into an octave 8 and sestet 6. There is a "volta," or "turning" of the subject matter between the octave and sestet.

In an English or Shakespearean sonnet, a group of four lines united by rhyme. The repetition of identical concluding syllables in different words, most often at the ends of lines. Stanza form used by Chaucer, usually in iambic pentameter, with the rhyme scheme ababbcc.

Wordsworth's "Resolution and Independence". Prosody, the pronunciation of a song or poem, is necessary for scansion. Go to the "Introduction to Prosody" page or try the scansion quiz.

Stressed syllables are in caps. Dactyl dactylic stressed unstressed unstressed. This pattern is more common as dactylic hexameter in Latin poetry than in English poetry. A comprehensive dictionary of poetry terminology that is excellent for teaching and learning various elements of poetry. This glossary of all poetry terms is a valuable resource for poets and educators. PoetrySoup makes a distinction between poetry terms and forms of poetry. Forms of poetry adhere to a certain pattern, scheme, or meter, etc.

However, our poetry terms are words or terminology that are closely associated with poetry while not a form of poetry.

We have seperated poetry forms from these definitions. Arma virumque cano, Troiae qui primus ab oris "I sing of arms and the man, who first from the shores of Troy.

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2 thoughts on “ 37 Common Poetry Terms ” PressOn March 13, at pm. Thanks very much, Robert. I’ve saved the list for future reference. The list brings up one question, however. One of the terms you define is “quintain,” meaning a five-line poem or stanza.

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Common Poetry Terms. Definitions of Alliteration, Similes and Metaphors, Personification, Connotation and Imagery.

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Poetry Terms: Brief Definitions Go to Drama Terms or Fiction Terms. Try the Online Quiz on Poetry Terms to test your knowledge of these might also like to try the Online Quiz on Prosody to test your knowledge of scanning poetry. A Japanese form of poetry, consisting of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables.

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Glossary of Poetry Terms. This index of common poetry terms—from alliteration to verse—will take the mystery out of the art form. Whether you're a student looking to improve your creative writing skills or someone who just wishes to learn more about the craft of poetry, this glossary will help make sense out of the many terms and types of poetry. Start studying MOST COMMON LITERARY TERMS. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools.