Twenty-three essential terms are defined below. Following that, a list of important terms appears in alphabetical order. Babette Deutsch’s and Louis Untermeyer’s handbooks can provide all the added information you might need.
: The repetition of the same sound at close intervals in a group of words. The sound or sounds may appear at any part of the words.
: I never ever need nirvana.
; This is verse that depends little on meaning, and mainly relies on aural effectiveness.
: The intensity of emphasis on a syllable of a word; the stress.
Less emphasis is marked by a ù; stronger stress, with an increasingly bold «.
: The repetition of vowel sounds or similar sounds to produce the resemblance of rhyme: willow and fellow.
: In an overall sense the ballad is a narrative poem that has, at some point, been set to music; it is also a piece that uses a refrain, giving the effect of a song. Creates the combination of a narrative and a lyric poem.
: Associated mainly with Shakespeare’s plays, the term applies to any verse without end rhyme or stanzaic divisions.
: (also Cesura) A pause within the line or at the end of a line of verse. This break is used to accentuate the rhythm.
: (archaic—distich) Two lines of matching verse that succeed one another; they may match in length and/or rhyme.
: The implied meaning of a word or phrase.
: Direct or specific meaning of a word or phrase.
: A measure of the number of syllables that make up part of a verse line; each syllable is the equivalent of a beat in a bar of music.
: The metrical and stanzaic structure of a poem.
) A form based upon a more open and, therefore, often-irregular movement, rather than a rigid pattern. The rhythm is implied rather than based on any fixed meter.
: Iambic pentameter, or five iambic feet on one line of verse.
(interior rhyme) The repetition of the same rhyme sound within the line or the structure of a poem.
: What I’d give to remember/How I lived in September.
: Meaning, literally, to measure, it designates the regular succession of beats in a deliberate pattern.
: A figure of speech where two things are associated by making a part stand for the whole: lands belonging to the
: Usually a short prose passage where the poetic quality is obvious, especially if the rhythm and/or the connotations of language create the sensations of poetry.
: (also burden) A chorus; a few lines or a phrase repeated at the end of different stanzas.
: A careful dissection of the metrical patterns of lines of verse, separating feet and noting stresses and pauses; The sky/ is filled/with joy.
: The basic form of a 14-line poem that is divided into an eight line section (octave) and a six-line section (sestet). The
sonnet has the most rigid form: the octave is always abbaabba, and the sestet abcabc or ababab. The Shakespearean sonnet is famous for its final rhymed couplet.
. A figurative term for the association of an object with one of its details: “From sea to shining sea” represents the entire trans-continental span.
: It is often used as a line in a poem, especially where the structure is formed. Verse is also synonymous with stanza.
Other terms to explore: