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Poetry Terms Beginning With 'G'

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


Poetry Terminology by Letter


Gainst

Definition

Gainst, a poetic abbreviation of against.

Galliambic

Definition

Meter composed of two iambic dimeters e.g. Tennyson's Boadicea.

Genre

Definition

Kind or style of literary output e.g. poem, novel, play, short story etc.

Georgian Poets

Definition

Group of poets whose work was published in a series of volumes between 1912-1922 by Rupert Brooke, Harold Monro and Edward Marsh. It includes: D. H. Lawrence, John Masefield, Edmund Blunden, Siegfried Sassoon, W.H. Davies, Walter de la Mare, Ralph Hodgson, Edward Thomas, James Stephens, Andrew Young, J.C.Squire, James Elroy Flecker, A.E.Housman and Robert Graves. Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon and Edmund Blunden later objected to being labelled 'Georgian'.

Georgics

Definition

Poems about farming or farmers. The term derives from Virgil's carmina georgica.

Ghazal

Definition

A poetic form consisting of couplets which share a rhyme and a refrain.

(pronounced as "ghuzzle")


Ghazal is a Persian/Arabic /Urdu/Hindi and now English form of poetry between 5-15 rhyming couplets with or without refrain. (The refrain is the repeating part at the end of each couplet). Ghazal usually have one concept (like love, death, spring …) and that is usually ambiguous in nature, because each couplet is an independent poem in itself. Each couplet in ghazal has the same meter/ syllables that will follow throughout the poem. There are 19 different kinds of ghazals that can be categorized in three classes of short, medium, and long based on the number of syllables from 6 to 24. In ghazal, the poet usually places his/her alias in the last line and becomes a part of the poem. The rhyming in Ghazal ends like aA bA cA dA eA etc. If you choose to add refrain to your poem, the refrain comes after the rhyming in each couplet. In Ghazal, the first couplet must have the rhyming and the refrain in both halves of the couplet in subsequent couplets, only the second half of the couplet will follow the same scheme of rhyming.

Example

Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell tonight?
Whom else from rapture’s road will you expel tonight?

Those “Fabrics of Cashmere—” “to make Me beautiful—”
“Trinket”— to gem– “Me to adorn– How– tell”— tonight?

I beg for haven: Prisons, let open your gates–
A refugee from Belief seeks a cell tonight.

God’s vintage loneliness has turned to vinegar–
All the archangels– their wings frozen– fell tonight.

Lord, cried out the idols, Don’t let us be broken
Only we can convert the infidel tonight.

Mughal ceilings, let your mirrored convexities
multiply me at once under your spell tonight.

He’s freed some fire from ice in pity for Heaven.
He’s left open– for God– the doors of Hell tonight.

In the heart’s veined temple, all statues have been smashed
No priest in saffron’s left to toll its knell tonight

God, limit these punishments, there’s still Judgment Day–
I’m a mere sinner, I’m no infidel tonight.

Executioners near the woman at the window.
Damn you, Elijah, I’ll bless Jezebel tonight.

The hunt is over, and I hear the Call to Prayer
fade into that of the wounded gazelle tonight.

My rivals for your love– you’ve invited them all?
This is mere insult, this is no farewell tonight.

And I, Shahid, only am escaped to tell thee–
God sobs in my arms. Call me Ishmael tonight.
—Agha Shahid Ali


Ghazal/Ghazel

Definition

Arabic love poem or love-song.

A poetic form consisting of couplets which share a rhyme and a refrain.

Gleeman

Definition

Minstrel or entertainer.

Glyconic

Definition

GLYCONIC (from Glycon, a Greek lyric poet), a form of verse, best known in Catullus and Horace (usually in the catalectic variety ), with three feet—a spondee and two dactyls; or four—three trochees and a dactyl, or a dactyl and three chorees. Sir R. Jebb pointed out that the last form might be varied by placing the dactyl second or third, and according to its place this verse was called a First, Second or Third Glyconic.


Glyconic Verse

Definition

A lyric meter invented by the Greek poet Glykon.

Gnomic

Definition

GNOME, and GNOMIC POETRY. Sententious maxims, put into verse for the better aid of the memory, were known by the Greeks as gnomes,γν?μαι, from γν?μη, an opinion. A gnome is defined by the Elizabethan critic Henry Peacham (1576?-1643?) as “a saying pertaining to the manners and common practices of men, which declareth, with an apt brevity, what in this our life ought to be done, or not done.” The Gnomic Poets of Greece, who flourished in the 6th century b.c., were those who arranged series of sententious maxims in verse. These were collected in the 4th century, by Lobon of Argos, an orator, but his collection has disappeared. The chief gnomic poets were Theognis, Solon, Phocylides, Simonides of Amorgos, Demodocus, Xenophanes and Euenus. With the exception of Theognis, whose gnomes were fortunately preserved by some schoolmaster about 300 b.c., only fragments of the Gnomic Poets have come down to us. The moral poem attributed to Phocylides, long supposed to be a masterpiece of the school, is now known to have been written by a Jew in Alexandria. Of the gnomic movement typified by the moral works of the poets named above, Prof. Gilbert Murray has remarked that it receives its special expression in the conception of the Seven Wise Men, to whom such proverbs as “Know thyself” and “Nothing too much” were popularly attributed, and whose names differed in different lists. These gnomes or maxims were extended and put into literary shape by the poets. Fragments of Solon, Euenus and Mimnermus have been preserved, in a very confused state, from having been written, for purposes of comparison, on the margins of the MSS. of Theognis, whence they have often slipped into the text of that poet. Theognis enshrines his moral precepts in his elegies, and this was probably the custom of the rest; it is improbable that there ever existed a species of poetry made up entirely of successive gnomes. But the title “gnomic” came to be given to all poetry which dealt in a sententious way with questions 152of ethics. It was, unquestionably, the source from which moral philosophy was directly developed, and theorists upon life and infinity, such as Pythagoras and Xenophanes, seem to have begun their career as gnomic poets. By the very nature of things, gnomes, in their literary sense, belong exclusively to the dawn of literature; their naïveté and their simplicity in moralizing betray it. But it has been observed that many of the ethical reflections of the great dramatists, and in particular of Sophocles and Euripides, are gnomic distiches expanded. It would be an error to suppose that the ancient Greek gnomes are all of a solemn character; some are voluptuous and some chivalrous; those of Demodocus of Leros had the reputation of being droll. In modern times, the gnomic spirit has occasionally been displayed by poets of a homely philosophy, such as Francis Quarles (1592-1644) in England and Gui de Pibrac (1529-1584) in France. The once-celebrated Quatrains of the latter, published in 1574, enjoyed an immense success throughout Europe; they were composed in deliberate imitation of the Greek gnomic writers of the 6th century b.c. These modern effusions are rarely literature and perhaps never poetry. With the gnomic writings of Pibrac it was long customary to bind up those of Antoine Favre (or Faber) (1557-1624) and of Pierre Mathieu (1563-1621). Gnomes are frequently to be found in the ancient literatures of Arabia, Persia and India, and in the Icelandic staves. The priamel, a brief, sententious kind of poem, which was in favour in Germany from the 12th to the 16th century, belonged to the true gnomic class, and was cultivated with particular success by Hans Rosenblut, the lyrical goldsmith of Nuremberg, in the 15th century.


Gnomic poets

Definition

A class of writers of this form in Greek literature. [Gr. gnome, an opinion—gnonai, gignoskein, to know.]

Gnomic Verse

Definition

Verse containing gnomes, maxims and aphorisms. It particularly refers to the work of certain sixth and seventh centuries B.C. Greek poets - such as Theognis.

Gobbledegook

Definition

Onomatopoeic word (derived from the noise made by poultry) for incomprehensible or jargon-laden writing/language.

Golden Treasury

Definition

Influential anthology compiled by F.T. Palgrave and first published in 1861.

Golden Treasury, The

Definition

Influential anthology compiled by F.T. Palgrave and first published in 1861.

Goliardic Verse

Definition

Verse written during the 12th and 13th centuries and attributed to the Goliards who were wandering scholars. It was primarily written in Latin and was ribald and satirical in tone. The most notable collection of Goliardic verse is the Carmina Burana which was discovered in the monastery of Benediktbeuern in 1803.

Gongorism

Definition

Elaborate and affected poetic style which was originated by the 16th century Spanish poet Luis de Gongora y Argote.

Grand Style

Definition

Term coined by Matthew Arnold (in one of his Oxford lectures) to describe the lofty, elevated tone of poets such as Homer, Pindar, Dante and Milton etc.

Graveyard Poets

Definition

Group of 18th century poets who specialised in poetry on the subject of human mortality - often set in graveyards. The group included Thomas Parnell, Edward Young, Robert Blair and most notably Thomas Gray.

Grook

Definition

A form of short aphoristic poem characterized by irony, paradox, brevity, precise use of language, sophisticated rhythms and rhymes and often satiric nature.

Example

EDIAMATIC
Know it all cold?
Or lank with acedia?
Share and be bold;
Come build Wikipedia.
— Anon.

ASSY-METRY
There's nothing that goads
Like no-passing roads
With a slowpoke in front
And a hot rod in back —
'Cause you'd never speed
It's just that you need
To get past that grunt
And away from that devil on crack.
— Anon.


Group, the

Definition

Poetry group founded in London in 1955 by Philip Hobsbaum and his wife. Members of the group included: Peter Porter, Ted Hughes, Peter Redgrove, George MacBeth and Edward Lucie-Smith.

Grub Street

Definition

Originally a street near Moorfields in London inhabited by minor writers and poets. The term is now synonymous with literary hackwork.

Gushi

Definition

Chinese poetic term which literally means 'old poetry'. However, it is more normally used to refer to less formal verse than jintishi.

Gwawdodyns

Definition

Welsh syllabic verse form. See awdl.