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1.In classical times, any poem on any subject written in 'elegiac' meter (dactylic couplets comprising a hexameter followed by a pentameter line), but since the Renaissance usually a formal lament for the death of a particular person. For example, see W. H. Auden, 'In Memory of W. B. Yeats' (1940).
6.Poetry written in the voice of one or more characters assumed by the poet. For example, Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are dramatic narratives.
7.The repetition of vowel sounds in a line or series of lines. Assonance often affects pace (by working against short and long vowel patterns) and seems to underscore the words included in the pattern. For example, see the beginning of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'Kubla Khan' (1816).
9.A four-line stanza, the second and fourth lines of which are iambic trimeter and rhyme with each other; the first and third lines, in iambic tetrameter, do not rhyme. This form, frequently used in hymns, is also known as 'common meter'; a loose form of it is often used by Emily Dickinson.
10.Repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive lines. For example, see Anne Bradstreet, 'To My Dear and Loving Husband' (1678).
11.Uses of a word or words that go beyond the literal meaning to show or imply a relationship, evoking a further meaning. Such figures, sometimes called 'tropes' (i.e., rhetorical 'turns'), include anaphora, metaphor, metonymy, and irony.
15.Three four-line stanzas and a couplet, rhymed abab cdcd efef gg. For example, see William Shakespeare, Sonnet 146 (1609; 'Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth').
16.Originally any poem carved in stone (on tombstones, buildings, gates, etc.), but in modern usage a very short, usually witty verse with a quick turn at the end (e.g., much of the light verse of Ogden Nash).
18.A pair of rhymed lines of iambic pentameter. For example, see Geoffrey Chaucer, 'The Pardoner's Tale.' Perhaps the most polished instances of this form are provided by Alexander Pope.
20.Lines of verse based on the metrical foot. This is the most common form of English poetry.
23.A four-line stanza of considerable metrical complexity, named after the ancient Greek poet Alcaeus.
25.Rhymes comprised of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable (e.g., see George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan 1.38 [1819]: 'He learn'd the arts of riding, fencing, gunnery, / And how to scale a fortress- or a nunnery'). Compare masculine rhyme.
26.Lines of verse organized by number of stresses rather than by feet or number of syllables. This was the form of poetry written in Old English (which combined stress with alliteration). For a modern example, see Richard Wilbur, 'Junk' (1961). Accentual meter is the basis of sprung rhythm.
28.A figure in which what is stated is the opposite of what is meant or expected. For example, see Wilfred Owen is ironic use of Horace, Odes 3.2.13, in 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' (1920).
30.Resemblance in certain respects between things that are otherwise unlike; also, the use of such likeness to predict other similarities.
31.A stressed syllable followed by two unstressed ones, as in 'screwdriver'. (see foot).
32.A relatively new (or recently defined) kind of poetry in which the speaker focuses on the poet's own psychic biography. This label is often applied to writings of Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton.
34.What is suggested by a word, apart from what it explicitly and directly describes (compare denotation). For example, the 'cypresses' of Eavan Bolands 'That the Science of Cartography Is Limited' (1994) connote death, because of their traditional associations with mourning.
35.The repetition of sounds in nearby words, most often involving the initial consonants of words (and sometimes the internal consonants in stressed syllables).
38.Unrhymed iambic pentameter; for example, see Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 'Ulysses' (1842).
39.A narrative poem, impersonally related, that is (or originally was) meant to be sung. Characterized by repetition and often by a repeated refrain (a recurrent phrase or series of phrases), the earliest ballads were anonymous works transmitted orally from person to person through generations. For example, see 'Sir Patrick Spens.' Modern literary ballads imitate these folk creations (e.g., Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' [1798]).
40.A short concluding stanza found in certain poetic forms (e.g., the sestina) that often provides a concise summing-up of the poem.
1.A line break that coincides with the end of the sentence (vs. a run-on line; compare enjambment).
2.A mental representation of a particular thing able to be visualized (and often able to be apprehended by senses other than sight).
3.Metaphors that dominate or organize an entire poem. For example, metaphors of movement structure John Donne's 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning' (1633).
4.Two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one, as in 'unabridged' (see foot).
5.The direct and literal meaning of a word or phrase (as distinct from its implication). Compare connotation.
8.A pair of lines, almost always rhyming, that form a unit.
12.Detailed and complex metaphors that extend over a long section of a poem (e.g., the metaphor of grass in Whitmans 'Song of Myself' [1881], section 6 or of the compass in Donnes 'A Valediction Forbidding Mourning').
13.An attempt to supplement (or replace) verbal meaning with visual devices from painting and sculpture. A true concrete poem cannot be spoken; it is viewed, not read (compare pattern poetry).
14.A poem written in the voice of a character, set in a specific situation, and spoken to someone. This form is most strongly identified with poems of Robert Browning (e.g., 'My Last Duchess' [1842]); see also Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 'Ulysses' (1842).
16.The use of a line that 'runs on' to the next line, without pause, to complete its grammatical sense (compare end stop). For example, see Gwendolyn Brooks, 'We Real Cool' (1960).
17.The basic unit, consisting of two or three syllables, into which a line is divided in scansion. Verse is labeled according to its dominant foot (e.g., iambic) and the number of feet per line (e.g., pentameter). Lines of one, two, three, four, five, and six feet are respectively called monometer, dimeter, trimeter, tetrameter, pentameter, and hexameter. See anapest, iamb, dactyl, spondee, and trochee.
19.A sign, used in scansion, that marks a natural pause in speaking a line of poetry.
21.The ability to mean more than one thing.
22.A long poem, in a continuous narrative often divided into 'books,' on a great or serious subject. Traditionally, it celebrates the achievements of mighty heroes and heroines, using elevated language and a grand, high style (e.g., Homers Iliad), but later epics have been more personal (e.g., William Wordsworths Prelude [1805 / 1850]) and less formal in structure (e.g., H. D. is Helen in Egypt [1961]).
24.An octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines); typically rhymed abbaabba cdecde, it has many variations that still reflect the basic division into two parts separated by a rhetorical turn of argument (e.g., see Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese [1850]).
25.Poetry that does not follow the rules of regularized meter and strict form. However, these open forms continue to rely on patterns of rhythm and repetition to impose order; for example, see Whitman, 'Song of Myself' (1881).
27.A reference that recalls a word, phrase, or sound in another text. For example, 'And indeed there will be time' in Eliot's 'Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' (1917) recalls both Ecclesiastes 3.1 ('To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven') and Andrew Marvell, 'To His Coy Mistress' (1681; 'Had we but world enough and time'). It is less specific than an allusion.
29.Standard ways of saying things in verse, employed to achieve certain expected effects. Conventions may pertain to style (e.g., the rhyme scheme of the sonnet) or content (e.g., the figure of the shepherd in the pastoral).
33.An indirect reference to a text, myth, event, or person outside the poem itself (compare echo). Although it is woven into the context of the poem, it carries its own history of meaning: for example, see the reference to Hamlet in T. S. Eliot, 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' (1917).
36.An unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one, as in 'above' (see foot). Iambic is the most common meter in English poetry.
37.A lyric about the dawn (e.g., see John Donne, 'The Sun Rising' [1633]).

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