Glossary of Poetic Terms
No.1 on Google UK
|Collective term for Wordsworth,
Coleridge and Southey who
all lived in the Lake District in the early years of the 19th century. The
landscape of the Lake District provided them with inspiration for their poetry -
especially so for Wordsworth. See also
|See 'Lake Poets' above.
|Scottish literary language - as used by
Hugh MacDiarmid and
|Scurrilous, satirical poem e.g. John Wilmot's famous
epitaph for Charles II:
Her lies a great and mighty king
Whose promise none relies on;
He never said a foolish thing,
Nor ever did a wise one.
|Short lyric or narrative poem meant to be
sung; originating from the French 'lai' or 'lais'.
|Theme running through a piece of work.
|Type of verse possibly attributed to a 13th century
French poet called Leo. In English it refers to verse employing an
internal rhyme scheme where a word in the middle of the line rhymes with
the word at the end of the line e.g
'The splendour falls on castle walls' from
Blow, Bugle, Blow
|The maker of dictionaries. According to
Samuel Johnson: 'a harmless drudge'.
|The particular type of vocabulary used by a
person or poet. The words 'wind', 'rain' and 'storm' are an instantly
recognisable part of Bob Dylan's lexicon.
|The text of an opera. W.
H. Auden was a skilled librettist.
|Verse which is comical or light-hearted in tone. Light
verse forms include the limerick, the
and the Little Willie. Famous exponents of
light verse include: John Skelton,
Edward Lear, Hilaire Beloc, Ogden Nash,
John Betjeman and Gavin Ewart.
|Term coined by Paul Valéry to describe a line which is
'given' or 'gifted' to a poet from the Muses/God etc.
|Form of light verse consisting of five lines and
rhymed: a-a-b-b-a. The first, second and fifth lines contain three feet
while the third and fourth lines contain two feet. The form was
popularised by the Victorian poet Edward Lear. Lear often used the same
word at the end of the first and fifth lines e.g.
There was an old
person of Dean
Who dined on one pea, and one bean;
For he said, "More than that
Would make me too fat,"
That cautious old person of Dean.
Modern limerick writers
tend to introduce a new rhyme in the last line - as in this example by Gavin Ewart:
The Highbrow Hangover
Today I am feeling subfusc
and as brittle and brusque as a rusk,
most frighteningly friable -
no action is viable -
not a man nor a mouse but a husk!
|A basic structural component of a poem. Lines
can be written in free form, in syllabic form (e.g. haiku) or in
metrical form. In the official classification, metrical lines can vary
in length from the monometer (one foot) to the octameter (eight feet).
|The scientific study of language and its
|Concerning the writing or study of
literature, especially that of high quality.
|Person who acts on behalf of an author in
negotiations with publishers/film makers etc in return for a percentage
of final fee. Agents seldom represent poets, however, as there is
(regrettably) very little money to be made out of poetry.
|Glossary of literary related terminology;
usually broader in scope than a 'Glossary of Poetic Terms'.
|General term denoting high quality written
work including: poetry, novels, plays, short stories etc.
Ezra Pound famously declared that: ' Literature
is news that STAYS news.'
|Figure of speech employing ironic understatement which
affirms something by denying its opposite e.g. 'Earth has not anything
to show more fair' from
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth.
|Form of light verse written in
quatrains rhyming a-a-b-b. They concern the exploits of the eponymous
disaster-prone hero e.g.
Billy, in one of his nice new sashes,
Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes;
Now, although the room grows chilly,
I haven't the heart to poke poor Willie.
|Name given to Roger McGough, Brian Patten and Adrian
Henri who came together in Liverpool in the 1960s. They published and
performed their own poetry - which was humorous, popular and
anti-intellectual. See also
|Poetry featuring a mixed meter and composed of iambs,
trochees, dactyls and anapests.
|Term coined by Ezra Pound to
describe a poem which induces both
'stimulating the associations (intellectual or emotional) that have
remained in the receiver's consciousness in relation to the actual words
or word groups employed'.
|Where cliques of authors/poets favourably
review each other's work in order to boost sales. See
consisting of a tetrameter which is iambic or dactylic. Often employed in
|Poetry which deals with the agony and ecstasy of love
e.g. Shakespeare's Sonnets. See also
|U-shaped, stringed instrument (similar to a
harp)used in ancient Greece to accompany recited/sung poetry. See 'lyric
|Term originally derived from the Greek
word meaning 'for the lyre' and indicating verses that were written to be sung.
However, more recently the term 'lyric' has been used to refer to short poems,
often written in the 'I' form, where the poet expresses his or her feelings e.g. The
Lake Isle of Innisfree by W.B.Yeats or London by
|Ground breaking poetry collaboration by
Wordsworth, which first appeared in 1798. Subsequent extended
versions appeared in 1800, 1801 and 1802. Most of the poems in the
collection were written when the two poets lived in Somerset: Coleridge
at Nether Stowey and Wordsworth at Alfoxden.