Poetry Terms | Terminology

Poetry terms and terminology. A dictionary of poetry terms and examples that are excellent for teachiing and learning various aspects of poetry. This comprehensive glossary of English poetry terminology or literary terms is a valuable resource for all poets and educators.

PoetrySoup makes a distinction between poetry terms and poetry forms. Forms of poetry adhere to a certain pattern, scheme, or meter, etc. However, our poetry terms are words or terminology that are closely associated with poetry while not a form of poetry. We have seperated poetry forms from these definitions.

See also: Forms of Poetry


Poetry Terminology by Letter


Some Random Poetry Terms

Mock-Heroic

Type of satirical verse which deals with trivial matters in the style of epic or heroic verse. The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope is an example of mock-heroic verse. Pope's poem was inspired by Lord Petre's cutting of a lock of Miss Arabella Fermor's hair without her permission.

Instress

See inscape.

Antistrophe

The second stanza of a Pindaric ode. See ode.

Common Measure

Quatrain featuring alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter and an a-b-a-b rhyming scheme. Many hymns are written in common measure. See Light Shining Out of Darkness by Cowper. See also ballad.

Synecdoche

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.

Willing Suspension of Disbelief

Term coined by S.T.Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria which states that readers and/or theatre audiences need to overlook certain literary/theatrical conventions in order to fully engage with the work in question.

Inscape

Term devised by G. M. Hopkins to describe the 'individually distinctive' make up of natural phenomena as perceived through the five senses. He also coined the term 'instress' to describe the force or energy which creates and sustains 'inscape'. Instress is similar in many ways to the Chinese concept of Tao. See Hopkins' sonnet as kingfishers catch fire (lines 5-8) in which he articulates something of inscape and instress.

Envoi

A short stanza at the end of a poem used either to address an imagined or actual person or to comment on the preceding body of the poem.

Urdu Poetry

Urdu Poetry is a rich tradition of poetry and has many different forms which were basically originated from Arabic and borrowing much from the Persian language, it is today an important part of the cultures of India and Pakistan.

Like other languages, the history of Urdu poetry shares origins and influences with other linguistic traditions within the Urdu-Hindi-Hindustani mix. Literary figures as far back as Amir Khusro (1253-1325 CE) and Kabir (1440–1518 CE) inspired later Urdu poets, and served as intellectual and linguistic sources. Meer, Dard, Ghalib, Anis, Dabeer, Iqbal, Zauq, Josh, Jigar, Faiz, Firaq and Faraz are among the greatest poets of Urdu. The tradition is centered in the subcontinent. Following the Partition of India in 1947, it found major poets and scholars residing primarily in modern Pakistan. Mushairas (or poetic expositions) are today held in metropolitan areas worldwide.

Forms of Urdu Poetry
Ghazal (pronounced as "ghuzzle"), Fard, Hamd, Hazal, Hijv, Madah, Manqabat, Marsiya (muhr-see-yaa), Masnavi (pronounced "mus-na-vee"), Munaajaat, Musaddas, Naat, Nazm, Qasida (pronounced "quh-see-daa"), Qataa, Rubayi (pronounced "ru-baa-ee"), Ruba'i, Rubaiyat, Salaam, Seharaa, and Vaasokht.

Overstatement

See hyperbole.

Dactylic Hexameter

Meter used in Greek epic poetry. Homer wrote the Odyssey and the Iliad in unrhymed dactylic hexameters. See meter. A more recent example is Evangeline by Longfellow.

Middle English

The written and spoken language of England from the beginning of the 12th Century to approx. 1500. The most important writer of the period being Chaucer.

Epistle

Poem written in the form of a letter e.g. Epistle To Dr Arbuthnot by Pope.

Irish Forms

There are a number of traditional Irish syllabic verse forms including: ae freislighe, casbairdne, deibhidhe, droighneach, rannaigheacht chetharchubaid garit recomarcach, rannaigheacht mhor, rionnaird tri-nard and séadna. Like the Welsh Forms - these forms involve intricate rhyme schemes and alliteration.

Poets' Corner

Part of the south transept of Westminster Abbey where many famous English poets are buried or commemorated - including Chaucer, Spenser, Dryden, Tennyson, Gay, Drayton and Browning etc. Technically it is not a corner, nor is it occupied exclusively by poets.