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Poetry Terms Beginning With 'R'

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

See also Forms of Poetry...



Random Rhyme

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Definition

Irregular, sporadic rhyme - often used in modern poetry.


Rap

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Definition

(or Rapping) Music of African American origin which delivers (rapid) rhythmic rhymes - usually over a backing beat. However, some rap poets recite their lines without musical accompaniment.


Recitative

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Definition

(or Recitativo) Poem which is written to be spoken or performed - possibly with a musical accompaniment. See the opening line of To a Locomotive in Winter by Whitman.


Refrain

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Definition

A refrain (from the Old French refraindre "to repeat," likely from Vulgar Latin refringere) is the line or lines that are repeated in poetry, usually after every stanza.

Example

For example, one version of the traditional ballad The Cruel Sister includes a refrain mid-verse:

There lived a lady by the North Sea shore,
Lay the bent to the bonny broom
Two daughters were the babes she bore.
Fa la la la la la la la.
As one grew bright as is the sun,
Lay the bent to the bonny broom
So coal black grew the other one.
Fa la la la la la la la.


Renaissance Poetry

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Definition

Broad term used to describe the work of 16th and 17th Century English poets including: Sidney, Ralegh, Donne, Spenser, Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Elizabeth I, Marvell, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Drayton, Wyatt and Skelton. See also metaphysical poets and cavalier poets.


Repetend

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Definition

See refrain.


Rhapsody

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Definition

Greek epic poem (or section of poem) suitable for recitation.


Rhetorical Question

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Definition

A question asked for effect, but not meant to be answered because the answer is clear from context.


Rhopalic Verse

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Definition

Verse in which each line is a (metrical) foot longer than its predecessor e.g. Richard Crashaw's Wishes to His Supposed Mistress.


Rhupunt

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Definition

Welsh syllabic verse form. See awdl.


Rhyme

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Definition

A rhyme is a repetition of identical or similar sounds in two or more different words and is most often used in poetry. The word "rhyme" may also refer to a short poem, such as a rhyming couplet or other brief rhyming poem such as nursery rhymes.

Example

Spoon and Toon


Rhyme scheme

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Definition

A rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming lines in a rhyming poem or in lyrics for music. It is usually referred to by using letters to indicate which lines rhyme.

Example

For example "abab" indicates a four-line stanza in which the first and third lines rhyme, as do the second and fourth. Here is an example of this rhyme scheme from To Anthea, Who May Command Him Any Thing by Robert Herrick:

Bid me to weep, and I will weep,
While I have eyes to see;
And having none, yet I will keep
A heart to weep for thee.


Rhymer

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Definition

(or Rhymester) A person who employs rhyme; often a pejorative term for a poet.


Rhymers Club

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Definition

Group of poets including W.B. Yeats and Ernest Rhys who met at the Cheshire Cheese pub in Fleet Street, London to read and discuss their poetry.


Rhyming Slang

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Definition

Device invented by 'Cockney geezers' to conceal the subject of conversations from eavesdroppers and/or the police. Examples include: apples and pears (stairs), Barnet Fair (hair), butchers' hook (look) and Chalfont St. Giles (piles). Not to be confused with Cockney Poetry.


Rhythm

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Definition

The actual sound that results from a line of poetry. Metrical rhythm generally involves precise arrangements of stresses or syllables into repeated patterns called feet within a line.

Example

N/A


Rime

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Definition

Archaic term for rhyme.


Rime Couée

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Definition

French term for a tail-rhyme stanza i.e. a stanza which is concluded by a short line that rhymes with a previous short line but which is separated from it by a long line. Robert Burns' stanza is an example of rime couée.


Rising Meter

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Definition

Term used to describe end-stressed meters such as iambic and anapestic - as opposed to falling meter.


Romanticism

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(or Romantic Poets) Term used to describe the work of poets such as: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Burns, Southey, Scott, Keats, Shelley and Byron.


Rondel

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Definition

Another poem of French origin, normally consisting of fourteen lines, but with only two rhymes. The first and second, seventh and eighth, and thirteenth and fourteenth lines are the same. The most common rhyme scheme is: A-B-b-a-a-b-A-B-a-b-b-a-A-B.


Rondelet

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Definition

Smaller version of the rondel. The rondelet is a seven line poem with a refrain in the first, third and seventh line and a rhyme scheme: A-b-A-a-b-b-A.


Roundel

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Definition

Variation on the rondeau devised by A.C.Swinburne. It is an eleven line poem where the first part of the first line is repeated as a refrain in the fourth and eleventh lines.


Roundelay

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Definition

Short, simple song with a refrain.


Rubai

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A quatrain with a rhyming scheme a-a-b-a e.g. the  Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward Fitzgerald.


Run-On

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Definition

See enjambment.


Running Rhythm

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Definition

Term used to describe the effect of meters featuring regular patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables - as opposed to sprung rhythm.