Poetry Terms -
f. This is a comprehensive resource of poetry terms beginning with the letter
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Short story or piece of verse conveying a moral e.g. Aesop's fables.
A short tale in verse originating from early French poetry. Fabliaux were often comic or ribald in tone. An English example is the Miller's Tale by Chaucer.
Term used to describe front stressed meters such as trochaic and dactylic - as opposed to rising meter.
Originally a term synonymous with imagination through the use of metaphors or conceits. It was later downgraded by Romantic critics to mean invention of a more superficial nature.
Line of verse with an extra unstressed syllable at the end.
Language where the literal meaning of words or phrases is disregarded in order to show an imaginative relationship between diverse things. Figurative language makes poetry more vivid. Such figures of speech include: allegory, apostrophe, hyperbole, irony, litotes, metaphor, metonymy, personification, simile and synecdoche.
See concrete poetry.
See 'Figurative Language' above.
Derogatory term coined by Robert Buchanan (writing as Thomas Maitland) to describe the work of D.G. Rossetti, A.C. Swinburne and William Morris who he saw as being immoral and overly sensual.
A contest of invective between two poets e.g. the Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie.
The units used in poetry- Feet are composed of syllables arranged in some kind of pattern of accented and unaccented syllables. There are five most commonly used sets of feet are iambic (iamb), trochaic (trochee), anapestic (anapest), dactylic (dactyl), and spondaic (spondee).
In verse, many meters use a foot as the basic unit in their description of the underlying rhythm of a poem. Both the quantitative meter of classical poetry and the accentual-syllabic meter of most poetry in English use the foot as the fundamental building block. A foot consists of a certain number of syllables forming part of a line of verse. A foot is described by the character and number of syllables it contains: in English, feet are named for the combination of accented and unaccented syllables; in other languages such as Latin and Greek, the duration of the syllable (long or short) is measured.
When scanning a line of verse, a poet looks at feet as the basic rhythmic unit rather than words. A foot can consist of multiple words and a single word can contain many feet; furthermore, a foot can and often does bridge multiple words, containing, for example, the last two syllables of one word and the first of the next. To scan for feet, one should focus on the stream of sound alone and set aside the actual meaning of the words.
The structural components of a poem e.g. stanza pattern, metre, syllable count etc - as opposed to the content. T.S.Eliot said that: 'In the perfect poet they (form and content) fit and are the same thing'.
description, narration, exposition, and persuasion
Poetry that is discovered 'ready-made' within the text of books, newspapers, advertisements etc. Several years ago I came across the following double haiku in the Eastern Daily Press:
Title of a (light hearted) essay by Thomas Love Peacock in which he classified poetry in terms of four periods: iron, gold, silver and brass.
Classification devised by I.A.Richards in his Practical Criticism (1930) which distinguishes the four different meanings in a poem, namely:
A line of poetry containing fourteen syllables. Usually refers to iambic heptameter e.g. Captain Stratton's Fancy by John Masefield.
Intricate stanza forms devised by the French Provençal troubadour poets. These include: the ballade, the chant royal, the kyrielle, the lai, the rondeau, the rondeau redoublé, the rondel, the rondelet, the sestina, the triolet, the virelai and the villanelle. Many of these forms were subsequently used by the famous 15th century French poet François Villon. Henry Austin Dobson and A. C. Swinburne were two English poets who specialised in the use of French forms.