Glossary of Poetic Terms

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Haibun Japanese form, pioneered by the poet Basho, and comprising a section of prose followed by haiku. They are frequently travelogues - as in Basho's The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel (1688). In the best examples, the prose and haiku should work together to create an organic whole.
 
Haiku Miniature Japanese poem consisting of 17 syllables - five syllables in first line, seven in second and five in the last. No rhyme or meter scheme is employed when writing haiku. The aim of the haiku is to create something greater than the sum of the parts e.g.

Reflections

Today your surface
Is a mirror where the sky
Bends to see itself.

Traditionally Haiku were used to capture aspects of nature and often feature a seasonal component known as a 'kigo'. See Japanese forms.
 

Half Rhyme Occurs with feminine or three-syllable words where the initial accented syllables rhyme but the unaccented syllables don't e.g. 'nearly' and 'clearing' or 'wilderness' and 'building'.
 
Harlem Renaissance African American literary movement which occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen were leading players.
 
Head Rhyme See alliteration.
 
Hemistich Half a line.
 
Hendecasyllabics Usually refers to a classical line in which the first foot is a trochee or a spondee, the second is a dactyl and the third and fourth are trochees. This meter was frequently used by the Roman poet Catullus.
 
Heptameter A line of poetry containing seven metrical 'feet'. An example of anapestic heptameter is The Lacking Sense by Thomas Hardy.
 
Heptastich A seven line stanza.
 
Heptasyllabic A seven syllable line.
 
Heroic Couplet Pair of rhyming lines written in iambic pentameter. John Dryden and Alexander Pope used Heroic Couplets extensively in their work.
 
Heroic line Another term for iambic pentameter. See meter.
 
Heroic Poetry/Verse See epic.
 
Heteronym Term coined by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa to describe an alter ego through which poets/authors can create work.
 
Hexameter A line containing six metrical 'feet'. An example of an iambic hexameter is the last line of each stanza of The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser.
 
Hexastich A six line stanza. See sestet.
 
Hir a Thoddaid Welsh syllabic verse form.
 
Hokku See Haiku.
 
Homeric In the style or manner of the Greek poet Homer.


Homeric epithet Homer commonly combined adjectives and nouns to create compound adjectives e.g. 'wine-dark sea'.

Homeric simile See epic simile.

Homograph Two or more words which share the same spelling but are pronounced differently and have different meanings e.g. 'tear' and 'tear'.
 
Homonym Two or more words which share the same spelling and pronunciation but have different meanings e.g. 'pole' and 'pole'.
 
Homophone Two or more words which are pronounced the same but have different spelling and meaning e.g. 'saw' (to cut) and 'sore' (hurting). Many puns are based on homophones.
 
Homostrophic See ode.
 
Hook The most memorable or most catchy part of a song.
 
Horatian In the style or manner of  the Roman poet Horace.

Horatian Ode See ode.
 
Hovering Accent See distributed stress.
 
Hrynhent Form of skaldic (Scandinavian) meter.

Hudibrastic Verse written in the style of Samuel Butler's satirical poem Hudibras. Hudibras, a poem written in rhyming octosyllabic couplets, concerns the exploits of a Presbyterian knight called Sir Hudibras. See mock heroic.
 
Huitain An eight line stanza - normally involving three rhymes. Popular in 15th and 16th Century France.
 
Hyangga Form of Korean folksong.

Hymn Poem written in praise of God and usually sung in Christian worship e.g. Light Shining Out of Darkness by William Cowper. Cowper collaborated with John Newton to write the Olney Hymns (1771-72).
 
Hymnal Stanza A four line iambic stanza with an a-b-a-b or a-b-c-d rhyme schme. Also known as common measure.

Hymnodist A writer of hymns.
 
Hyperbole Exaggeration for dramatic effect e.g. Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe:

'Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?'
 

Hypercatalectic Line possessing an extra syllable after the last, normal foot of the meter. Such lines can also be known as hypermetrical or extrametrical.
   

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