Poetry Terms -
l. This is a comprehensive resource of poetry terms beginning with the letter
Discuss this Term
See virelai and/or lay.
Collective term for Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey who all lived in the Lake District in the early years of the 19th century. The landscape of the Lake District provided them with inspiration for their poetry - especially so for Wordsworth. See also Romanticism.
See 'Lake Poets' above.
Scottish literary language - as used by Hugh MacDiarmid and Robert Burns.
Scurrilous, satirical poem e.g. John Wilmot's famous epitaph for Charles II:
See Poet Laureate.
Short lyric or narrative poem meant to be sung; originating from the French 'lai' or 'lais'.
Theme running through a piece of work.
Type of verse possibly attributed to a 13th century French poet called Leo. In English it refers to verse employing an internal rhyme scheme where a word in the middle of the line rhymes with the word at the end of the line e.g 'The splendour falls on castle walls' from Blow, Bugle, Blow by Tennyson.
The maker of dictionaries. According to Samuel Johnson: 'a harmless drudge'.
The particular type of vocabulary used by a person or poet. The words 'wind', 'rain' and 'storm' are an instantly recognisable part of Bob Dylan's lexicon.
The text of an opera. W. H. Auden was a skilled librettist.
Term coined by Paul Valéry to describe a line which is 'given' or 'gifted' to a poet from the Muses/God etc.
A basic structural component of a poem. Lines can be written in free form, in syllabic form (e.g. haiku) or in metrical form. In the official classification, metrical lines can vary in length from the monometer (one foot) to the octameter (eight feet).
The scientific study of language and its structure.
A form of language in which writers and speakers mean exactly what their words denote. See Figurative language, Denotation, and Connotation.
Concerning the writing or study of literature, especially that of high quality.
Person who acts on behalf of an author in negotiations with publishers/film makers etc in return for a percentage of final fee. Agents seldom represent poets, however, as there is (regrettably) very little money to be made out of poetry.
Glossary of literary related terminology; usually broader in scope than a 'Glossary of Poetic Terms'.
General term denoting high quality written work including: poetry, novels, plays, short stories etc. Ezra Pound famously declared that: ' Literature is news that STAYS news.'
In rhetoric, litotes is a figure of speech in which the speaker either strengthens or weakens the emphasis of a claim by denying its opposite. The literal meaning of a litotes is "not X (but not necessarily Y)", and a litotes can be used as an understatement, actually meaning "very much Y," or to express ambivalence. Like many figures of speech, litotes is better understood in some cultural and linguistic contexts than in others.
As a means of saying:
Form of light verse written in quatrains rhyming a-a-b-b. They concern the exploits of the eponymous disaster-prone hero e.g.
Name given to Roger McGough, Brian Patten and Adrian Henri who came together in Liverpool in the 1960s. They published and performed their own poetry - which was humorous, popular and anti-intellectual. See also performance poetry and underground poets.
Where cliques of authors/poets favourably review each other's work in order to boost sales. See puff.
Poetry featuring a mixed meter and composed of iambs, trochees, dactyls and anapests.
Term coined by Ezra Pound to describe a poem which induces both melopoeia and phanopoeia by 'stimulating the associations (intellectual or emotional) that have remained in the receiver's consciousness in relation to the actual words or word groups employed'.
One of the three modes of persuasion in rhetoric (along with ethos and pathos). Logos is appeal based on logic or reason.
Poetry which deals with the agony and ecstasy of love e.g. Shakespeare's Sonnets. See also erotic poetry.
U-shaped, stringed instrument (similar to a harp)used in ancient Greece to accompany recited/sung poetry. See 'lyric poetry' below.
Term originally derived from the Greek word meaning 'for the lyre' and indicating verses that were written to be sung. However, more recently the term 'lyric' has been used to refer to short poems, often written in the 'I' form, where the poet expresses his or her feelings e.g. The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B.Yeats or London by William Blake.
Ground breaking poetry collaboration by Coleridge and Wordsworth, which first appeared in 1798. Subsequent extended versions appeared in 1800, 1801 and 1802. Most of the poems in the collection were written when the two poets lived in Somerset: Coleridge at Nether Stowey and Wordsworth at Alfoxden.