LITERARY TERMS & THEMATIC ELEMENTS
EILAND'S ONLINE ENGLISH CLASSES

Arich  drawing of e.e. cummings
Terms for Poetry

  • ALLITERATION: repeated consonant sounds (Carrie crashed Craig's car)
  • APOSTROPHE: speech addressed to absent or non-listening figure
  • ASSONANCE: repetition of same vowel sounds (Annie asked Andy for alimony)
  • BALLAD: short, lyrical narrative
  • COUPLET: two rhyming lines in a verse
  • EPIC: long narrative poem, often heroic in nature
  • EYE RHYME: using words that have same ending but SOUND different (home/come)
  • FREE VERSE: unrhymed poetry with irregular length lines
  • LYRIC: short poem, song like, focussing on emotion
  • METER: beat of the verse…how many stressed syllables per line:
    Triameter: 3 stressed beats per line
    Tetrameter: 4 stressed beats per line
    Pentameter: 5 stressed beats per line
    Hexameter: 6 stressed beats per line
    Heptameter: 7 stressed beats per line
  • OCTET: 8 lines in a verse
  • ODE: lyrical poem exalting someone
  • OPEN FORM: designed to sound spontaneous, as opposed to a strictly metered or rhymed verse.
  • POEM: a work in meter or free verse employing figurative language
  • PROSODY: principles of verse
  • QUATRAIN: four lines in a verse grouped together, not necessarily rhyming
  • REFRAIN: repeated lines, esp. in ballad: could be a line or single phrase
  • RHYME: accented sounds in corresponding positions between lines
  • RHYTHM: pattern of stressed and unstressed sounds in a poem
  • SEXTET: 6 lines in a verse
  • SONNET: invented by Shakespeare, a lyric poem of 14 lines
  • STANZA: group of lines repeated in a poem
  • TRIPLET: 3 lines in a verse, rhyming
  • VERSE: line of poetry; stanza of poem or song


© T. T. Eiland, January 1998
Last modified: March 30, 2000