Poetry Terms – Structure

Topics: LiteraturePoetry

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Last updated: December 1, 2019

Exact Rhyme
Perfect rhyme — also called full rhyme, exact rhyme, or true rhyme — is a form of rhyme between two words or phrases, satisfying the following conditions: The stressed vowel sound in both words must be identical, as well as any subsequent sounds.

Approximate Rhyme
When words share the same vowel sound or similar vowel sound and same end sound, they “sort of rhyme, but not exactly.

Internal Rhyme
A rhyme involving a word in the middle of a line and another at the end of the line or in the middle of the next.

End Rhyme
End rhyme is when the last syllables within a verse rhyme. This type of rhyme is the most commonly used in English poetry. It is also often used in song lyrics, as we will see below.

Rhyme Scheme
The ordered pattern of rhymes at the ends of the lines of a poem or verse.

Alliteration
The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.

Assonance
In poetry, the repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in nonrhyming stressed syllables near enough to each other for the echo to be discernible.

Consonance
Agreement or compatibility between opinions or actions.

Meter
Meter is a unit of rhythm in poetry, the pattern of the beats. It is also called a foot. Each foot has a certain number of syllables in it, usually two or three syllables. The difference in types of meter is which syllables are accented and which are not.

Scanning/Scansion
Describing the rhythms of poetry by dividing the lines into feet, marking the locations of stressed and unstressed syllables, and counting the syllables.

Iambic Pentameter
Iambic pentameter refers to a certain kind of line of poetry, and has to do with the number of syllables in the line and the emphasis placed on those syllables.

Blank Verse
The term refers to verse that has no rhyme scheme, but does have a regular meter—iambic pentameter, to be exact.

Free Verse
Although free verse requires no meter, rhyme, or other traditional poetic techniques, a poet can still use them to create some sense of structure.

Endstop
An end-stop occurs when a line of poetry ends with a period or definite punctuation mark, such as a colon. When lines are end-stopped, each line is its own phrase or unit of syntax. So when you read an end-stopped line, you’ll naturally pause.

Enjambment
Enjambment is the continuation of a sentence or clause over a line-break.

Stanza
In poetry, a stanza is a grouped set of lines within a poem, usually set off from other stanzas by a blank line or different indentation. Stanzas can have regular rhyme and metrical schemes, though stanzas are not strictly required to have either.

Couplet
A style of poetry defined as a complete thought written in two lines with rhyming ends. The most popular of the couplets is the heroic couplet.

Quatrain
A quatrain is a stanza of exactly four lines, often with an alternating rhyme pattern.

Sonnet
A 14-line verse form often in iambic pentameter, having one of several conventional rhyme schemes and usually featuring a shift in mood or tone after the eighth or twelfth line.

Ballad
The literary ballad is a narrative poem created by a poet in imitation of the old anonymous folk ballad. Usually the literary ballad is more elaborate and complex; the poet may retain only some of the devices and conventions of the older verse narrative.

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