Glossary of Poetic Terms

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Fable Short story or piece of verse conveying a moral e.g. Aesop's fables.
Fabliau 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.
Falling Meter Term used to describe front stressed meters such as trochaic and dactylic - as opposed to rising meter.
Fancy Originally a term synonymous with imagination through the use of metaphors or conceits. It was later downgraded by Romantic critics to mean invention of a more superficial nature.
Feminine Caesura See caesura.
Feminine Ending Line of verse with an extra unstressed syllable at the end.
Feminine Rhyme See Rhyme
Figurative Language 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, apostrophe, hyperbole, irony, litotes, metaphor, metonymy, personification, simile and synecdoche.
Figure Poems See concrete poetry.
Figures of Speech See 'Figurative Language' above.
Fleshly 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 sensual.
Flyting A contest of invective between two poets e.g. the Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie.
Foot/feet 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. See meter.
Forensics Poetry involving argument and debate.

Form The structural components of a poem e.g. stanza pattern, metre, syllable count etc - as opposed to the content. T.S.Eliot said that: 'In the perfect poet they (form and content) fit and are the same thing'.
Found Poetry 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:

Conscientious pig
Person required for large
Modern sow unit.

Experience of
Artificial insemin-
ation essential.

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.
Four Meanings 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 create.

Fourteener A line of poetry containing fourteen syllables. Usually refers to iambic heptameter e.g. Captain Stratton's Fancy by John Masefield.
Free verse 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 both the imagist and modernist movements. See also vers libre.
French Forms Intricate stanza forms devised by the French Provençal troubadour poets. These include: the ballade, the chant royal, the kyrielle, the lai, the rondeau, the rondeau redoublé, the rondel, the rondelet, the sestina, the triolet, 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.

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