Submit Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Poetry Terms Beginning With 'H'

Poetry Terms - H. This is a comprehensive resource of poetry terms beginning with the letter H.


Poetry Terminology by Letter


Haibun

Discuss this Term

Definition

Japanese form, pioneered by the poet Basho, and comprising a section of prose followed by haiku. They are frequently travelogues - as in Basho's The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel (1688). In the best examples, the prose and haiku should work together to create an organic whole.


Haiku

Discuss this Term

Definition

HAIKU (plural: haiku, from archaic Japanese): The term haiku is a fairly late addition to Japanese poetry. The poet Shiki coined the term in the nineteenth century from a longer, more traditional phrase, haikai renga no hokku ("the introductory lines of light linked verse"). To understand the haiku's history as a genre, peruse the vocabulary entries for its predecessors, the hokku and the haikai renga or renku.

The haiku follows several conventions:

(1) The traditional Japanese haiku consists of three lines. The first line contains five syllables, the second line contains seven, and the last line five. In Japanese, the syllables are further restricted in that each syllable must have three sound units (sound-components formed of a consonant, a vowel, and another consonant). The three unit-rule is usually ignored in English haiku, since English syllables vary in size much more than in Japanese. Furthermore, in English translation, this 5/7/5 syllable count is occasionally modified to three lines containing 6/7/6 syllables respectively, since English is not as "compact" as Japanese.

(2) The traditional subject-matter is a Zen description of a location, natural phenomona, wildlife, or a common everyday occurrence. Insects and seasonal activities are particularly popular topics. If the subject-matter is something besides a scene from nature, or if it employs puns, elaborate symbols, or other forms of "cleverness," the poem is technically a senryu rather than a haiku. The point was that the imagery presents a "Zen snapshot" of the universe, setting aside logic and thought for a flash of intuitive insight. The haiku seeks to capture the qualities of experiencing the natural world uncluttered by "ideas." Often editors will talk about "the haiku moment"--that split second when we first experience something but before we begin to think about it. (In many ways, this idea might be contrasted usefully with the lyric moment in the English tradition of poetry; see lyric).

(3) The haiku is always set during a particular season or month as indicated by a kigo, or traditional season-word. This brief (and often subtle) reference to a season or an object or activity associated with that time of year establishes the predominant mood of the poem.

(4) It is striking a feature of the haiku that direct discussion of the poem's implications is forbidden, and symbolism or wordplay discouraged in a manner alien to Western poetry. The poet describes her subject in an unusual manner without making explicit commentary or explicit moral judgment. To convey such ideas, the genre often relies upon allusions to earlier haiku or implies a comparison between the natural setting and something else. Simplicity is more valued than "cleverness." Again, if the poet is being clever, using puns or symbols, the poem again is technically a senryu rather than a haiku.

(5) The poet often presents the material under a nom de plume rather than using her own name--especially in older haiku.

(6) Additionally, the haiku traditionally employ "the technique of cutting"--i.e., a division in thought between the earlier and later portions of the poem. (It is comparable to the volta of a sonnet). These two divisions must be able to stand independently from the other section, but each one must also enrich the reader's understanding of the other section. In English translation, this division is often indicated through punctuation marks such as a dash, colon, semicolon, or ellipsis.

Here is an example of a haiku by a Western writer, James Kirkup:

In the amber dusk
Each island dreams its own night--
The sea swarms with gold
.

The following poem serves as an example very loosely translated from Japanese:

Yagate shinu
Keshiki wa miezu
Semi no koe
[O cricket, from your cheery cry
No one could ever guess
How quickly you must die.]

This example illustrates the haiku's lack of authorial commentary or explanation--the desire merely to present the experience of nature:

Samidare wo
Atsumete hayashi
Mogami-gawa
[Gathering all
The rains of May
The swift Mogami River.]

Many Japanese poets have used the form, the two acknowledged masters being Bashó (a nom de plume for Matsuo Munefusa, 1644-94); and Kobayashi Issa (a nom de plume for Kobayashi Nobuyuki). The Imagist Movement in 20th century English literature has been profoundly influenced by haiku. The list of poets who attempted the haiku or admired the genre includes Ezra Pound, Amy Lowell, Robert Frost, Conrad Aiken, and W. B. Yeats. Contrast haiku with the tanka and the senryu. See also hokku, below, and haikai, above. See also kigo and imagism. You can click here to download a PDF handout summarizing this discussion of haiku, or you can click here to download PDF samples of haiku.


Half Rhyme

Discuss this Term

Definition

Half rhyme, sometimes known as slant, sprung or near rhyme, and less commonly eye rhyme (a term covering a broader phenomenon), is a rhyme in which the rhyme occurs only on the first syllable of the rhyming word, as in blue and truly or sum and trumpet.


Hamd

Discuss this Term

Definition

Hamd is a poem in praise of Allah. The word "hamd" is derived from the Qur'an, its English translation is "Praise".


Harlem Renaissance

Discuss this Term

Definition

African American literary movement which occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen were leading players.


Head Rhyme

Discuss this Term

Definition

See alliteration.


Hemistich

Discuss this Term

Definition

Half a line.


Hendecasyllabics

Discuss this Term

Definition

Usually refers to a classical line in which the first foot is a trochee or a spondee, the second is a dactyl and the third and fourth are trochees. This meter was frequently used by the Roman poet Catullus.


Heptameter

Discuss this Term

Definition

One or more lines of verse containing seven metrical feet (usually fourteen or twenty-one syllables).


Heptastich

Discuss this Term

Definition

A seven line stanza.


Heptasyllabic

Discuss this Term

Definition

A seven syllable line.


Heroic Couplets

Discuss this Term

Definition

A traditional form for English poetry, commonly used for epic and narrative poetry; it refers to poems constructed from a sequence of rhyming pairs of iambic pentameter lines.


Heroic line

Discuss this Term

Definition

Another term for iambic pentameter. See meter.


Heroic Poetry

Discuss this Term

Definition

(or Heroic Verse) See epic.


Heroic Poetry/Verse

Discuss this Term

Definition

See epic.


Heteronym

Discuss this Term

Definition

Term coined by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa to describe an alter ego through which poets/authors can create work.


Hexameter

Discuss this Term

Definition

A literary and poetic form, consisting of six metrical feet per line.


Hexastich

Discuss this Term

Definition

A six line stanza.


Hindi

Discuss this Term

Definition

Hindi is the Fifth most spoken language in the world. About 500 million people speak Hindi, in India and abroad, and the total number of people who can understand the language may be 800 million. The constitution of India (Article 343) recognizes Hindi as the official language of India. Hindi is also the main language in many states of India such as Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal/ Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh. It is spoken by more than 487 million people in the world. The other dialects of Hindi are Brajbhasha, Bundeli, Awadhi, Marwari, Maithili, and Bhojpuri, to name only a few.


Hir a Thoddaid

Discuss this Term

Definition

Welsh syllabic verse form.


Hokku

Discuss this Term

Definition

See Haiku.


Homeric

Discuss this Term

Definition

Homeric, ho-mer'ik, adj. pertaining to Homer, the great poet of Greece (c. 850 B.C.): pertaining to or resembling the poetry of Homer.


Homograph

Discuss this Term

Definition

Two or more words which share the same spelling but are pronounced differently and have different meanings e.g. 'tear' and 'tear'.


Homonym

Discuss this Term

Definition

Two or more words which share the same spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings e.g. 'pole' and 'pole'.


Homophone

Discuss this Term

Definition

A word which is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning.


Homostrophic

Discuss this Term

Definition

See ode.


Hook

Discuss this Term

Definition

The most memorable or most catchy part of a song.


Horatian

Discuss this Term

Definition

Horatian, ho-ra'shan, adj. pertaining to Horace, the Latin poet (65-8 B.C.), or to his style.


Horatian Ode

Discuss this Term

Definition

See ode.


Hovering Accent

Discuss this Term

Definition

See distributed stress.


Hudibrastic

Discuss this Term

Definition

Verse written in the style of Samuel Butler's satirical poem Hudibras. Hudibras, a poem written in rhyming octosyllabic couplets, concerns the exploits of a Presbyterian knight called Sir Hudibras.


Huitain

Discuss this Term

Definition

An eight line stanza.


Hybronnet

Discuss this Term

Definition

The form name is derived from hybrid and sonnet.
This form is an offspring of a sonnet; that is to say that it must consist of fourteen lines; each line must be octal syllabic, does not necessarily have to be iambic although it can be if desired, and the rhyme scheme can be ABABCDCDEFEFGG, couplet rhyme, or other acceptable schemes, allowing the poet more latitude to work with, and finally, the end rhyme can be a combination of rhymes (masculine, feminine, slant, etc.) or used anyway the poet deems appropriate.


Hymn

Discuss this Term

Definition

Poem written in praise of God and usually sung in Christian worship e.g. Light Shining Out of Darkness by William Cowper. Cowper collaborated with John Newton to write the Olney Hymns (1771-72).


Hymnodist

Discuss this Term

Definition

A writer of hymns.


Hyperbole

Discuss this Term

Definition

A large exageration, usually used with humor.


Hypercatalectic

Discuss this Term

Definition

Line possessing an extra syllable after the last, normal foot of the meter. Such lines can also be known as hypermetrical or extrametrical.


Hysteron Proteron

Discuss this Term

Definition

A figure of speech in which things are named in the reverse of their normal order.