Glossary of Poetic Terms
No.1 on Google UK
|Short story or piece of verse conveying a
moral e.g. Aesop's fables.
|A short tale in verse originating from early
French poetry. Fabliaux were often comic or ribald in tone. An English
example is the Miller's Tale by Chaucer.
|Term used to describe front stressed meters such as
trochaic and dactylic - as opposed to
|Originally a term synonymous with
imagination through the use of
conceits. It was later downgraded by Romantic critics to mean invention
of a more superficial nature.
|Line of verse with an extra unstressed
syllable at the end.
|Language where the literal meaning of words or phrases is
disregarded in order to show an imaginative relationship between diverse
things. Figurative language makes poetry more vivid. Such figures of
speech include: allegory,
|Figures of Speech
|See 'Figurative Language' above.
School of Poetry
|Derogatory term coined by Robert Buchanan
(writing as Thomas Maitland) to describe the work of
D.G. Rossetti, A.C.
Swinburne and William Morris who he saw as being immoral and overly
|A contest of invective between two poets e.g.
the Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie.
|A foot is a basic unit of a meter. In
English, a metrical foot
normally contains either two or three syllables with varying patterns of stress.
|Poetry involving argument and debate.
|The structural components of a poem e.g.
stanza pattern, metre, syllable count etc - as opposed to the
said that: 'In the perfect poet they (form and content) fit and are the
|Poetry that is discovered 'ready-made'
within the text of books, newspapers, advertisements etc. Several years ago I came
across the following double haiku in the Eastern Daily Press:
Person required for large
Modern sow unit.
|Four Ages of Poetry
|Title of a (light hearted) essay by Thomas
Love Peacock in which he classified poetry in terms of four periods:
iron, gold, silver and brass.
|Classification devised by I.A.Richards in his
Practical Criticism (1930) which distinguishes the four different
meanings in a poem, namely:
1) Sense - what is actually said
2) Feeling - the poet's emotional attitude
3) Tone - the poet's attitude to his/her reader
4) Intention - the poet's purpose or the effect he/she is trying to
|A line of poetry containing fourteen
syllables. Usually refers to iambic
heptameter e.g. Captain
Stratton's Fancy by John Masefield.
|Verse without formal meter or rhyme patterns. Free
verse, instead, relies upon the natural rhythms of everyday speech. The American poet
Walt Whitman was a pioneer of free verse (see
Song of Myself).
However, it was fellow Americans T.S.Eliot and
Ezra Pound who are generally regarded as the major
instigators of free verse in English. Free verse is particularly associated with
modernist movements. See also
forms devised by the French Provençal
troubadour poets. These include: the
the chant royal, the
kyrielle, the lai, the
the sestina, the
the virelai and the
villanelle. Many of these
forms were subsequently used by the famous 15th century French poet François Villon. Henry Austin Dobson and
A. C. Swinburne were two English poets who
specialised in the use of French forms.