accent
placement of stress on certain syllables

ambiguity
multiplicity of meanings

anapest
two unaccented syllables followed by an accented syllable

ballad stanza
quatrain (4 lines) in which the 1st and 3rd lines have 4 stressed syllables, the 2nd and 4th lines have 3 stressed syllables and only the 2nd and 4th lines rhyme

canto
section or division of a long poem

carpe diem
“seize the day” or “make the most of youth while you can”

concrete verse
poems shaped like a specific object

couplet
a 2-lined stanza, poem or poetic saying

dactyl
1 accented syllable followed by 2 unaccented syllables

didactic
literature with a moral dilemma

diphthong
2 syllables that are counted and pronounced as 1, used to make words fit metrical requirements

dirge
lyric verse that is a short funeral lament

doggerel
verse made comic because irregular metrics are made regular by stressing normally unstressed syllables

dramatic monologue
dramatic poem in which a single character makes an extended speech revealing his/her psychology at a significant moment

dramatic poetry
poetry that reveals character through speech and that consists entirely of monologue/dialogue

elision
omission (usually of a vowel or unstressed syllable), i.e. o’er (for over), th’ (the)

foot
basic unit of meter in poetry

iamb
poetic foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable

iambic pentameter
meter in which the predominant foot is the iamb and there are 5 feet in a line (10 syllables)

inversion
variation of the normal word order which puts a modifier or the verb as first in the sentence

kenning
metaphorical compound in Anglo-Saxon or Germanic verse (i.e. “whale road” for ocean)

lyric poetry
short, melodic, imaginative poetry (i.e. sonnet, ode)

macaronic verse
verse containing words resembling a foreign language or mixture of languages

madrigal
lyric poem designed to be sung without instruments

metaphysical conceit
often startling and elaborate comparison between apparently dissimilar things

meter
rhythmically arranged patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables

octave
8-line poem or stanza

parody
piece of writing that imitates a piece of writing and makes it seem amusing

pastoral
work that depicts simple pleasure in rural life

pentameter
metrical line consisting of 5 feet

phyrric
2 unstressed syllables

prosody
study of versification (including meter, rhyme and stanza formation)

quatrain
4-line stanza

refrain
one or more lines repeated at intervals (usually at the end of a stanza)

rhyme scheme
sequence or pattern sounds

rhythm
regulated, patterned recurrence of specific kinds of sounds

rhythmic pattern
patterns established by accent or syllable count

scansion
means of studying the elements by which the poet has handled his/her rhythmical effects

sestet
6-line poem or stanza

spondee
metrical foot consisting of 2 accented syllables

stanza
one of the divisions of a poem, usually composed of 2+ lines

tercet
3-line poem or stanza that rhymes

tetrameter
metrical line consisting of 4 feet