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Poetry Terms Beginning With 'B'

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

See also Forms of Poetry...



Bacchic

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Definition

Classical meter consisting of three syllables per foot: one short, one long, one long.

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Bard

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Definition

Originally a term for a Celtic minstrel poet e.g. Cacofnix in Asterix the Gaul but is now used for any admired poet. Shakespeare is often referred to as 'the bard of Avon'.

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Bardolatry

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The veneration accorded to Shakespeare.

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Baroque Poetry

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Baroque derives from the Portuguese for imperfectly formed pearl. Baroque poetry is characterised by a highly elaborate style laced with extravagant conceits e.g. the work of the 17th century English poet Richard Crashaw.

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Bathos

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The descent from the sublime to the ridiculous. This expression comes from Pope's satire Peri Bathous, or the Art of Sinking (1727).

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Bawdy Verse

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X-rated poetry written anonymously for the purpose of recital e.g. Eskimo Nell, Abdul Abul Bul Amir, The Ball of Kirriemuir and The Good Ship Venus. See fabliau.

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Beat

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Definition

The rhythmic or musical quality of a poem. In metrical verse, this is determined by the regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. However, free verse often features a beat e.g. the work of Walt Whitman. Beat is one of the main things distinguishing poetry from prose.

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Beat Poets

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Group of American poets - including Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Kenneth Rexroth - who were disaffected by contemporary society. The word 'beat' comes from 'beat' as in music, 'beat' as in defeated and 'beat' as in to beatify or make blessed. Beat poetry had a big impact upon the lyrics of singers such as Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Tom Waits.

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Black Mountain Poets

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Group of poets associated with Black Mountain College, North Carolina - including Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley and Denise Levertov. They were anti-academic in their approach and sought to challenge traditional poetic forms.

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Blazon

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Poetry which catalogues the virtues or attributes of women e.g. the tenth stanza of Spenser's Epithalamion.

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Blues, The

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Definition

Music of African-American origin which features a repeated 12-bar pattern and employs lyrics which focus upon the harsh realities of negro life.

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Bob and Wheel

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Definition

Device used at the end of the main stanzas in alliterative verse such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The 'bob' is a short, one-stress line followed by the 'wheel' - which is a quatrain rhyming a-b-a-b   e.g.

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Bombast

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Pompous or overblown language.

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Bouts-rimés

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Definition

Game originating in France where players compete to write the best poem using a set of pre-selected rhymes. It was frequently played by Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

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Breve

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In prosody, a breve is the mark placed over a syllable in a line of verse to indicate that it is short or unstressed. See also macron and meter.

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Bridge

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The contrasting section of music/lyrics which often occurs after the second chorus of a song.

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Bucolic

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Definition

Alternative term for eclogue.

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Burden

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Chorus or refrain of a song/poem.

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Burns' Stanza

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Definition

Many of Burns' most famous poems were written using a six line, tail-rhyme stanza with an a-a-a-b-a-b scheme; the fourth and sixth lines being shorter than the rest e.g. To a Mouse

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Byr a Thoddaid

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Definition

Welsh syllabic verse form.

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Byronic Stanza

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Definition

See ottava rima.

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