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Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing (fifth edition) X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia Pearson-Longman ISBN: 0-321-47577-1


pattern of stresses and pauses in a poem

stress (accent)

emphasis placed on a syllable in speech


recurrent, regular rhythmic pattern in verse

iambic meter

verse meter consisting of specific recurring number of iambic feet per line

slack syllable

unstressed syllable in a line of verse

accentual meter

meter that uses a consistent number of strong speech stresses per line


pause within a line of verse that traditionally appears near the middle of the line

end-stopped line

line of verse that ends in a full pause, usually indicated by a mark of punctuation

run-on line

line of verse that does not end in punctuation


study of metrical structures in poetry


practice used to describe rhythmic patterns in a poem by separating the metrical feet, counting the syllables, marking the accents and indicating the pauses


unit of measurement in metrical poetry


metrical foot in a verse which an unaccented syllable is followed by an accented one ( ˘ ʹ )

anapestic meter

line made up primarily of anapests


metrical foot in verse in which two unstressed syllables are followed by a stressed syllable ( ˘ ˘ ʹ )

trochiac meter

line made up primarily of trochees; often associated with songs, chants and magic spells in English


metrical foot in which a stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed syllable ( ʹ ˘ )

dactylic meter

line made up primarily of dactyls; less common to English than it is to classical Greek or Latin


metrical foot of verse in which one stressed syllable is followed by two unstressed syllables ( ʹ ˘ ˘ )

rising meter

meter whose movement rises from an unstressed syllable (or syllables) to a stressed syllable; iambic and anapestic meters are examples

falling meter

meter whose movement falls from a stressed to unstressed syllable (or syllables); trochiac and dactylic meters are examples

monosyllabic foot

foot, or unit of meter, that contains only one syllable


metrical foot of verse containing two stressed syllables ( ʹ ʹ ) often substituted into a meter to create extra emphasis

iambic pentameter

most common meter in English verse containing five iambic feet per line


verse meter consisting of one metrical foot, or one primary stress, per line


verse meter consisting of two metrical feet, or two primary stresses, per line


verse meter consisting of three metrical feet, or three primary stresses, per line


verse meter consisting of four metrical feet, or four primary stresses, per line


verse meter consisting of five metrical feet, or five primary stresses, per line


verse meter consisting of six metrical feet, or six primary stresses, per line


verse meter consisting of seven metrical feet, or seven stresses, per line


verse meter consisting of eight metrical feet, or eight primary stresses, per line

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