Poetry Term

BALLAD
narrative poem, often set to music

BLANK
VERSE lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter (Shakespeare’s noble characters)

CACOPHONY
harsh or unpleasant sounds created by clashing consonants – squawk

CAESURA
strong or long pause in the middle of a poetic line, created by punctuation or by the natural pause in the poem

CONCEIT
an elaborate metaphor that compares two things that are startlingly different. Often an extended metaphor.

ELEGY/DIRGE
a poem of mourning, usually about someone who has died. A great praise or commendation, a laudatory speech, often about someone who has died.

EPIC
a long narrative poem, written in heightened language , which recounts the deeds of a heroic character who embodies the values of a particular society.

END-STOPPED
LINE line of poetry that has a full pause at the end, typically indicated by a period or semicolon

ENJAMBMENT
line of poetry that ends with no punctuation and consequently runs over into the next line

EUPHONY
pleasant spoken sounds created by smooth consonants – ripple, pleasure

FREE
VERSE poetry that does not conform to a regular meter or rhyme scheme.

LYRIC
POEM a poem that does not tell a story but expresses the personal feelings or thoughts of the speaker. A ballad tells a story.

METER
regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, each repeated unit of which is a foot

AMB
has 2 syllables, unstressed followed by stressed page 873

TROCHEE
has a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one

ODE
a lyric poem with a dignified theme that is phrased in a formal, elevated style. Its purpose is to praise and glorify. Conventionally, many odes are written or dedicated to a specific subject.

PASTORAL
poetry dealing with shepherds or an highly idealized subject

QUATRAIN
a poem consisting of four lines, or four lines of a poem that can be considered as a unit.

REFRAIN
a word, phrase, line, or group of lines that is repeated, for effect, several times in a poem.

RHYTHM
a rise and fall of the voice produced by the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables in language.

SCANSION
process of determining the meter of a poem by analyzing the stressed and unstressed syllables

SESTINA
poem composed of six six-line stanzas and a three-line conclusion called an envoi. Each line ends with one of six key words. The alternation of these six words in different positions – but always at the ends of lines – the poems six stanzas creates a rhythmic verbal pattern that unifies the poem.

SONNET
consists of 14 lines; each line contains ten syllables, and each line is written in iambic pentameter in which a pattern of an unstressed syllable followed by an stressed syllable is repeated five times.

PETRARCHAN
SONNET (Italian) an octave rhymed abba/abba with a sestet rhymed cdc/cdc or a similar variation

SHAKESPEAREAN
SONNET (English) three quatrains (each with a rhyme-scheme of its own) and the last two lines are a rhyming couplet. The typical rhyme-scheme for the English sonnet is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

VOLTA
also referred to as the turn, is the shift or point of dramatic change in a poem. The term is most frequently used in discussion of sonnet form, in which the volta marks a shift in thought (often from question to answer or problem to solution). It is most frequently encountered at the end of the octave (first eight lines in Petrarchan or Spenserian sonnets), or the end of the twelfth line in Shakespearean sonnets.

STANZA
group of lines in a poem that forms a metrical or thematic unit. Each stanza is usually separated by a blank space.

COUPLET
two consecutive rhyming lines of poetry.

TERCET
three lines

QUATRAIN
four lines

SESTET
six lines

OCTAVE
eight lines

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