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Poetry Terminology

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Meter
The regular patterns of accent that unerlie metrical verse; the metrical patterns of repetition of unaccented and accented syllables in poetry
Scansion
the process of measuring metrical verse-i.e. of marking unaccented and accented syllables, dividing the line into feet, identifying the metrical pattern, and noting the significant variations from that pattern
iambic
metrical pattern with one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable
iamb
metrical unit (one foot) with the iambic pattern
trochaic
metrical pattern with one stresses syllable followed by one unstressed syllable
trochee
metrical unit (one foot) with the trochaic pattern
anapestic
metrical pattern with two unstressed syllables followed by one stresses syllable
anapest
metrical unit (one foot) with the anapestic pattern
dactylic
metrical pattern with one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables
dactyl
metrical unit (one foot) with the dactylic pattern
monometer
one metrical foot (i.e. one stressed syllable in the line)
dimeter
two metrical feet (i.e. two stressed syllables in the line)
trimeter
three metrical feet (i.e. three stressed syllables in the line)
tetrameter
four metrical feet (i.e. four stressed syllables in the line)
pentameter
five metrical feet (i.e. five stressed syllables in the line)
hexameter
six metrical feet (i.e. six stressed syllables in the line)
expected rhythm
the rhythmic expectation set by the basic meter of a poem
heard rhythm
the actual rhythm of a metrical poem as we hear it when read naturally. the heard rhythm mostly conforms to but sometimes departs from the expected rhythm
substitution
the replacement of an expected metrical foot by a different one (for instance a trochee in an otherwise iambic line)
inversion
substitution of a trochee in an otherwise iambic line, or vice versa. (inversion that occurs at the beginning of the line if called initial inversion)
headless line
an iambic line with only one (accented) syllable in the first foot
extra-metrical syllables
one or more extra unstressed syllables at the beginnings or endings of lines (usually at the ends of iambic lines), either as a consistent feature of the metrical form of the poem or as an exception
blank verse
unrhymed iambic pentameter
free verse
unmetered poetry
stanza
poetic paragraph; a group of lines whose metrical pattern is repeated throughout a poem
couplet
two successive lines, usually in the same meter, linked by rhyme
enjambment
continuation of a sentence from one line or stanza of a poem to the next so that closely related words fall on different lines. the effect of enjambment is usually either to call attention to specific words or to show the connected thought or flow between stanzas
alliteration
the repitition at close intervals of the initial sounds of words
assonance
the repetition at close intervals of vowel sounds
consonance
the repetition at clsoe intervals of consonant sounds
sibilance
the repetition at close intervals of he 's' sound, suggestive of hissing
rhyme
the repetition of accented vowel sound and all succeeding sounds in closely linked words; also called perfect rhyme
approximate rhyme
a term used for words in a rhyming patten with some kind of sound correspondence (usually assonance or consonance) but are not perfect perfect rhymes; also called imperfect rhyme
internal rhyme
a rhyme in which one or both of the rhyme words are within the line
identical rhyme
either a homonym or the same word repeated in a rhyming position (esp. end rhyme)
feminine rhyme
a rhyme in which the repeated accented vowel is in either the second or third last syllable of the words involved
onomatopoeia
words that mimic their meaning in sound