Glossary of Poetic Terms
No.1 on Google UK
rime couée .
|Small Japanese poem consisting of exactly 31 syllables. A
tanka is a haiku with two further lines of seven syllables added.
Tanka, like haiku, work on the principle that less is more e.g.
Today, clumps of cow
Parsley (cut back by the white
Fall onto your surface and
Are carried away downstream.
|Welsh syllabic verse form - similar to
|Similar to an
acrostic except that
the significant word or phrase is spelt out by the last letters of each
line rather than by the first.
|Term coined by Allen Tate for the totality of
meaning within a poem. It derives from the logical terms 'extension'
|A stanza comprising of 3 lines. See also
|Hybrid form combining the shape/length of a
with the chain rhyme of terza rima. An example is Lewis Turco's
Terzanelle in Thunderweather.
|A poem consisting of triplets with the
following chain rhyme pattern: a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c etc. It can be written in any
meter but in English
it is usually iambic pentameter - see
Ode to the
West Wind by Shelley.
Terza rima was also the form chosen by Dante in
|A line of poetry consisting of four metrical 'feet'.
An example of trochaic tetrameter is
|The main idea, thesis or subject matter of a poem.
Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn, for example, deals with the
permanence of art and the impermanence of life.
|Poem of lamentation. See
|Welsh syllabic verse form. See
|The 'tone' of a poem (according to the
New Critics) reveals the attitude of the poet being studied e.g. anger,
love, resignation, despair, fear, boredom etc.
|The poetic equivalent of landscape painting e.g.
Pope's Windsor Forest or Gray's
Ode on a Distant Prospect
of Eton College. A more modern example of the genre is
Remains of Elmet by Ted Hughes which
was a collaboration with the photographer Fay Godwin.
|Poetry/literature which is handed down
from previous generations (usually in the same native language) and
which provides an influence/framework for subsequent poets. See
|The process of translating poetry
written in one language into another language. This is a notoriously
difficult exercise due to the condensed language of poetry, the
prevalence of figures of speech and the problem of finding
There are also different approaches to translation. Some
translators aim to provide an exact translation - while others try
only to convey the general impression of the text. Dryden, who
translated both Virgil and Homer, identified three types: 'metaphrase'
(literal), 'paraphrase' ('with latitude') and 'imitation'.
More recently, Ted Hughes has translated Ovid and Seamus Heaney
|The strophe, antistrophe and epode of a Pindaric
ode. See ode.
|Group of poets including: Herrick, Carew, Suckling,
Lovelace, Randolph and Godolphin who emulated
Ben Jonson. See
|Classical meter consisting of three short syllables per
foot. Such a foot would be extremely rare in English poetry.
|A line of poetry consisting of three metrical 'feet'. An
example of an iambic trimeter is The only news I know by
|An eight line stanza, of French origin, where the
first two lines are repeated as the last two lines and where the first
line is also repeated as the fourth line. The triolet features
two rhymes only.
comprising of three lines e.g.
Familiar Faces by Charles Lamb.
|A line of three feet e.g. a trimeter.
|A three line verse or stanza. See also
triplet or tercet.
|A foot with three syllables - as in dactylic and
|Form developed by
William Carlos Williams where a complete
sentence is split over three lines.
|The art or act of composing poetry. It
derives from the Latin word 'tropare' which means to make tropes.
See trope (below).
|A front stressed two-syllable
|A foot consisting of two syllables where the first
one is long or stressed and the second is short or unstressed e.g.
as in 'FALLing'.
use of language - as in simile and metaphor.
|Group of 12th and 13th century French Provençal
poets including Jaufre Rudel, Arnaut Daniel and Bernart de Ventadorn.
They invented a wide range of complex verse forms (see
and frequently wrote about 'courtly' love.
|Group of northern French poets who composed during the
12th and 13th centuries and who were influenced by the troubadours (see
above). The group included poets such as Gâce
Brulé and Blondel de Nesle.