Submit Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

Poetry Terms Beginning With 'S'

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


Poetry Terminology by Letter


Salaam

Discuss this Term

Definition

A salutory poem written in praise of the holy Prophet. It can also be a poem describing the incidents of Karbala. It is recited standing up.


Sapphic

Discuss this Term

Definition

Classical Greek stanza used by the lyric poetess Sappho and comprising of four unrhymed lines. The first three lines are written in trochaic pentameter except for the third foot which is a dactyl. The fourth line has only two feet: a dactyl and a trochee.


Sapphic stanza

Discuss this Term

Definition

The Sapphic stanza, named after Sappho, is a poetic form spanning four lines. The form is three hendecasyllabic lines of trochee, trochee, dactyl, trochee, trochee and a concluding line of dactyl, trochee, known as the Adonic or adonean line. Using "-" for a long syllable, "u" for a short and "x" for an "anceps" (or free syllable):


Satire

Discuss this Term

Definition

Satire (from Latin satira, "medley, dish of colourful fruits") is a technique used in drama, fiction, journalism, and occasionally in poetry, the graphic arts, the performing arts and other media in which the artist or author draws out societal or religious criticisms through use of other literary devices. Although satire is usually witty, and often very funny, the purpose of satire is not primarily humour but criticism of an event, an individual or a group in a clever manner.


Scansion

Discuss this Term

Definition

(or Scanning) The analysis of lines of poetry to identify their metrical pattern.


Scop

Discuss this Term

Definition

Anglo-Saxon minstrel.


Scottish Chaucerians

Discuss this Term

Definition

Group of Scottish poets including King James I, Robert Henryson, William Dunbar and Gawin Douglas who were all influenced by Chaucer.


Scottish Renaissance

Discuss this Term

Definition

20th century Scottish literary movement (led by Hugh MacDiarmid) which aimed to revive the use of the Scots dialect. See also Lallans.


Scriblerus Club

Discuss this Term

Definition

Association of writers, including Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, John Gay and John Arbuthnot, who met during 1714 to satirise 'all the false tastes in learning'.


Sedoka

Discuss this Term

Definition

Sedoka is a Japanese verse form that evolved from ancient songs. They can be mood poems, similar to tanka, or they can tell stories in the manner of a song. Sedoka consist of 6 lines of 5-7-7-5-7-7 syllables respectively. Each 5-7-7 unit is called a katauta. Traditionally, the second katauta says the same thing as the first katauta, although in a different way. In modern English the syllable count is somewhat more flexible, and there is usually a turn, or change in direction, in lines 3 and 5. The turn in line 3 is sharp, and the turn in line 5 is gentle.


Seharaa

Discuss this Term

Definition

A song sung at the time of tying the seharaa during the wedding ceremony. It is usually in praise of the bride/groom and their relatives.


sehra

Discuss this Term

Definition

Sehra or prothalamion is a poem sung at a nikah (Muslim wedding) in praise of the groom, praying to God for his future wedded life. Sehra is not the subject matter of folk songs alone, some of the prominent Urdu poets like Mirza Ghalib, Zauq and even Bahadur Shah Zafar too have composed sehras.


Senryu

Discuss this Term

Definition

A short Japanese style poem, similar to haiku in structure, however, senryû tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryû are often cynical or darkly humorous and satiric while haiku are serious.


Septet

Discuss this Term

Definition

A stanza comprising of seven lines.


Serpentine Verse

Discuss this Term

Definition

Line or stanza of poetry which begins and ends with the same word.


Sesta Rima

Discuss this Term

Definition

A six line stanza composed of a quatrain and a couplet and rhymed a-b-a-b-c-c. This verse form is often known as the Venus and Adonis stanza as it was used by Shakespeare in his narrative poem of that name.


Sestet

Discuss this Term

Definition

A stanza comprising of six lines e.g. The Castaway by William Cowper. A sestet is also the last six lines of a sonnet - following the octave. See sonnet.


Sestina

Discuss this Term

Definition

A highly structured form of poetry consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy (thirty-nine lines). The end words of the first stanza are repeated in varied order as end words in the other stanzas and also recur in the envoy.


Shakespeare's Line

Discuss this Term

Definition

Shakespeare's plays were essentially written in blank iambic pentameters - i.e. lines containing five two-syllable feet with the stress falling on the second syllable in each foot e.g:


Shakespearean Sonnet

Discuss this Term

Definition

See sonnet.


Shape

Discuss this Term

Definition

Poetry written in the shape or form of an object. Shape poems do not have to take the form of the object it describes. This form is different than a concrete poem, in that a concrete poem takes the shape of the object it describes.


Shi/Shih

Discuss this Term

Definition

Chinese term for different types of poetry/poems. See also jintishi, gushi and xinshi.


Sicilian Poets

Discuss this Term

Definition

Group of poets associated with the court of Emperor Frederick II (1220-1250) in Palermo.


Sick Verse

Discuss this Term

Definition

Poetry which exhibits an unhealthy preoccupation with subjects such as death or disease e.g. Surgeon at 2 a.m. by Sylvia Plath or Late Flowering Lust by John Betjeman.


Sijo

Discuss this Term

Definition

Sijo is the classic form of unrhymed poetry in Korea. Sijo have three long lines. Each line varies between 14 and 16 syllables, with the middle line often the longest. The first line states a theme, the second line counters it, and the third line resolves the poem.


Simile

Discuss this Term

Definition

An expression that compares one thing to another using 'like' or 'as'.


Skald

Discuss this Term

Definition

A Scandinavian bard or minstrel.


Skeltonic Verse

Discuss this Term

Definition

(or Skeltonics) Verse written in the style of John Skelton (?1460-1529). Skeltonic verse features short, irregular lines with multiple rhymes, written in a tumbling, helter-skelter style e.g. the following lines form How the Doughty Duke of Albany


Skeltonic Verse/ Skeltonics

Discuss this Term

Definition

Verse written in the style of John Skelton (?1460-1529). Skeltonic verse features short, irregular lines with multiple rhymes, written in a tumbling, helter-skelter style e.g. the following lines form How the Doughty Duke of Albany


Slam

Discuss this Term

Definition

Poetry slam is performance poetry which can feature a broad range of voices, styles, cultural traditions, and approaches to writing and performance.

A poetry slam itself is simply a poetry competition in which poets perform original work alone or in teams before an audience, which serves as judge. The work is judged as much on the manner and enthusiasm of its performance as its content or style, and many slam poems are not intended to be read silently from the page.

The National Poetry Slam (NPS) is a performance poetry competition where teams from across the United States, Canada, and France participate in a large-scale poetry slam. The event occurs in early August every year and takes place in a different US city.


Slam (Poetry Slam)

Discuss this Term

Definition

The term "Poetry Slam" is an umbrella category (not form) for any form of poem (Couplet, Rhyme, Free Verse, Alliteration, etc) meant to be performed for a live audience in a competitive environment. These performances are then judged on a numeric scale by previously selected members of the audience. Typically, poetry slam is highly politicized, speaking on many issues including current social and economic issues, gendered injustices, and racial issues. Poets are judged not only on the content of their slam but the manner of delivery and passion behind their words.


Slant Rhyme

Discuss this Term

Definition

Substitution of assonance or consonance for true rhyme (world / boiled, bear / bore) - also called half & near rhyme.


Song

Discuss this Term

Definition

A poem which is written to be sung or chanted - without or without musical accompaniment.


Sonnet

Discuss this Term

Definition

Lyric poems that are 14 lines that usually have one or more conventional rhyme schemes.


Sonnet Sequence

Discuss this Term

Definition

A collection of sonnets. The first sonnet sequence in English was Astrophel and Stella by Sir Philip Sidney. Other sonnet sequences include Amoretti by Spenser, Shakespeare's sonnets (154 in total), Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett-Browning and more recently The Glanmore Sonnets by Seamus Heaney.


Sonneteer

Discuss this Term

Definition

A writer of sonnets. See sonnet.


Spasmodic School Poets

Discuss this Term

Definition

Term devised by William Aytoun to describe a group of Victorian poets including: P. J. Bailey, J.W. Marston, S.T. Dobell and Alexander Smith whose work was characterised by violent and obscure imagery.


Spelling Rhyme

Discuss this Term

Definition

This occurs where the end words of a line are spelled similarly e.g. 'love' and 'move' but don't chime together as rhymes.


Spenserian Sonnet

Discuss this Term

Definition

See sonnet.


Spenserian Stanza

Discuss this Term

Definition

Stanza form developed by Edmund Spenser and almost certainly influenced by rhyme royal and ottava rima. Spenser's stanza has nine lines and is rhymed a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-c. The first eight lines of the stanza are in iambic pentameter and the last line in iambic hexameter. He used this form in his epic poem The Faerie Queene. John Keats, a great admirer of Spenser, used this stanza in his poem The Eve of St. Agnes.


Spondaic (spondee)

Discuss this Term

Definition

A two syllable foot that is comprised of two accented syllables-usually this is done in poetry by using one syllable words (like cat, dog) in a row


Spondee

Discuss this Term

Definition

(or Spondaic ) A two syllable foot that is comprised of two accented syllables-usually this is done in poetry by using one syllable words (like cat, dog) in a row


Sprung Rhythm

Discuss this Term

Definition

A unique system of meter devised by Gerard Manley Hopkins and evident in poems such as Pied Beauty and The Windhover. In Sprung rhythm one stressed syllable can make up a foot e.g. in Pied Beauty:


Stanza

Discuss this Term

Definition

One or more lines that make up the basic units of a poem - separated from each other by spacing.


Stave

Discuss this Term

Definition

See stanza above.


Stichomythia

Discuss this Term

Definition

Stichomythia is a technique in drama or poetry, in which alternating lines, or half-lines, are given to alternating characters, voices, or entities. The term originated in the literature of Ancient Greece, and is often applied to the dramas of Sophocles, though others like Shakespeare are known to use it. Etymologically it derives from the Greek stichos ("rows") + mythos ("speech"). Stichomythia is particularly well suited to sections of dramatic dialogue where two characters are in violent dispute. The rhythmic intensity of the alternating lines combined with quick, biting ripostes in the dialogue can be quite powerful.


Storm of Association

Discuss this Term

Definition

Term coined by Wordsworth to describe the kind of poetic inspiration inspired by the Muse.


Stream of Consciousness

Discuss this Term

Definition

Style that portrays the inner (often chaotic) workings of the mind.


Strophe

Discuss this Term

Definition

The first stanza of a Pindaric ode. See ode.


Surrealist Poets

Discuss this Term

Definition

Group of 20th century French poets (including André Breton, Louis Aragon and Paul Éluard) who were inspired by Freud's theories of the unconscious and who sought to produce irrational work.


Suzette Prime

Discuss this Term

Definition


SUZETTE PRIME

Syllable count: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, etc PLUS a philosophical statement

A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 tha has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. 

Philosophy is the study ofgeneral and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language

Any combination of a prime number syllable count may be usedper line.  Do avoid mirror images as this will detractfrom the free style feel. The line breaks serve as punctuation and no caps used,unless it is called for, as in my poem, DivineLove. Any topic which lends itself to a philosophical statement is suitablefor SUZETTE PRIME.


Syllabic Verse

Discuss this Term

Definition

A poetic form having a fixed number of syllables per line or stanza regardless of the number of stresses that are present. It is common in languages that are syllable-timed such as Japanese or modern French or Spanish, as opposed to accentual verse, which is common in stress-timed languages such as English.


Syllable

Discuss this Term

Definition

A syllable is a unit of speech sounds or a unit of pronunciation making up a word. For example, the word 'badger' consists of two syllables 'bad' and 'ger'. In English, syllables can be defined as either stressed (long) or unstressed (short). See meter. Syllables are ways to split words into speech sounds. For example, the word monkey is composed of two syllables: mon and key. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus or vowel with optional opening and closing consonants: like the word man.

A unit of pronunciation making up a word. For example, the word 'badger' consists of two syllables 'bad' and 'ger'. In English, syllables can be defined as either stressed (long) or unstressed (short). See meter.


Syllable Counting

Discuss this Term

Definition

Technique used in both traditional metrical verse forms (see meter) and in Japanese inspired forms such as haiku or tanka.  In traditional metrical forms the counting is based on the regular patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line. In Japanese forms, the syllable count is based solely on the total number of syllables. Some modern poets such as Marianne Moore and Peter Reading have used this second type of syllable counting to give their work intricate structures. 


Syllepsis

Discuss this Term

Definition

See zeugma.


Symbol

Discuss this Term

Definition

A type of image that transferred something that represents something else, such as Spring for youth, or darkness for death. Symbols are useful in transferring ideals carried in the image without stating them. A symbol works two ways: It is something itself, and it also suggests something deeper. It is crucial to distinguish a symbol from a metaphor: Metaphors are comparisons between two seemingly dissimilar things; symbols associate two things, but their meaning is both literal and figurative.


Symbolist Poets

Discuss this Term

Definition

Group of 19th century French poets including Verlaine, Rimbaud, Mallarmé and Laforgue who reacted against the objectivity and realism of the Parnassian movement. They favoured, instead, the use of evocative language employing symbolism. They were influenced by Charles Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe.


Synaesthesia

Discuss this Term

Definition

Describing one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another sense. A blending or confusion of different kinds of sense impression, in which one type of sensation is referred to in terms more appropriate to another. Common synaesthetic expressions include the descriptions of colors as "loud" or "warm", and of sounds as "smooth". A crossing of sensory metaphors (e.g., "loud shirt", "bitter wind", "sweet voice", "velvety smile" or "prickly laugh").


Synalepha

Discuss this Term

Definition

Type of elision where two adjacent vowels occur and one is suppressed e.g. 'And strike to dust th' imperial tow'rs of Troy' by Pope.


Syncope

Discuss this Term

Definition

See elision.


Synecdoche

Discuss this Term

Definition

A figure of speech that presents a kind of metaphor in which:A part of something is used for the whole, The whole is used for a part, The species is used for the genus, The genus is used for the species, or The stuff of which something is made is used for the thing.


Synonym

Discuss this Term

Definition

Word or phrase with the same meaning as another e.g. 'nice' and 'pleasant'.


Syntax

Discuss this Term

Definition

The way in which linguistic elements (words and phrases) are arranged to form grammatical structure.