These are basic definitions of the following terms. None of them needs to be confined to poetry. People use them in everyday speech and thought to help them make sense of what they might encounter.
respectively: direct comparison between two things, without intervening "like" or "as"; indirect comparison between two things, with "like" or "as" intervening; extended and elaborate comparison between two things or two related series of things.
basically, a thing that represents another thing and gives it properties by association that it would not otherwise possess, such as lights while driving, flags, religion, sports mascots, and the like.
An image is a word picture that tends to appeal to one or more of the five senses and so used. Imagery is the conspicuous use of images for descriptive purposes.
respectively: repetition of initial consonant sounds; repetition of vowel sounds in neighboring words; heavy and pronounced assonance
No poet before 1850 would even remotely consider writing something without deciding beforehand on its form, stanzaic type, rhyme scheme, or line length.
a regular pattern of rhymes in a poem, established by assigning a letter value to rhyme words at the ends of lines beginning with "a." An English sonnet, for example, made up of three quatrains and a couplet, rhymes abab cdcd efef gg. A couplet, on the other hand, rhymes aa, and so forth.
double rhyme: a rhyme on two syllables, the second unstressed. Risible, e.g., jelly / belly.
a section of a poem set off from the rest of it by spacing or rhyme scheme, felt to be a unit in and of itself. "Stanza" is derived from the Italian word for "room." So if a poem is a dwelling of some sort, a stanza is a room in it.
octet (8); septet (7); sestet (6); quatrain (4); tercet (3); couplet (2).
No early modern poet could conceive of composing verse without the use of a regular, sustained meter. Most poetry written before 1850 and much afterward depends heavily on this device. To some, prosodic matters make poetry what it is. Though there is no unified opinion on the matter, some think that regular stress-oriented meter became regular in the fourteenth century in the work of Chaucer. Others see this development occurring much earlier in romances or even in Old English poetry.
the analysis of meter and other devices of sound and rhythm in poetry.
rhythm in poetry
the activity of discovering the metrical composition of a poem or a line of poetry, and figuring out why it matters.
unit of metrical measurement in poetry with syllables and stresses
two-syllable foot comprised of an unstressed syllable followed by a stress, indicated ^ / . An iambic word: "explAIN."
often called a "reversed foot," as if the iamb were normative. A trochee is the opposite of an iamb, and the term itself is trochaic. / ^ . A trochaic word: "FOOTball."
hexameter (6 metrical feet);
the line that English poetry adopted as semi-official, a line of 5 iambs with variations
unrhymed iambic pentameter, the verse form that became the staple of Shakespeare in his plays and Milton in his epics.
a phrase that does not conclude with the end of a line but continues over into the next line and beyond. The technique was developed to help blank verse sound more like speech and less mechanical and jingly. A subject can be separated from its verb, a prepositional phrase can precede the main clause that it modifies, &c.
the natural break in a line of poetry, often toward the middle, since the native English tradition from Anglo-Saxon times tended to place it emphatically there.
a poem that varies its line-length for added effects.
© Copyright M. L. Stapleton 1998-2024. All rights reserved.
good for nothing else, be wise. --Rochester