Abecedarian - A type of form that forms an acrostic where the first letter of each line or stanza begins with a letter of the alphabet in succession.
Acatalectic - A complete line in meter or one that is not missing any feet or syllables.
Accent - One of several poetry terms that refers to the stresses given to syllables within a line of poetry. An accented syllable is one that is either naturally stressed or forced to stress and which causes a poem to have a certain rhythm. Example: The word "poetry" has three syllables, one stressed and two unstressed. The accent naturally falls on the first syllable. However, given the right poem a forced accent could fall on the last syllable.
Acrostic - A poem where the letters of the first line spell a word.
Alexandrine - A line of poetry with 12 syllables. Alexandrines are not very common in contemporary poetry. The name more than likely is a reference to a medieval romance about Alexander the Great and which used a 12-syllable line throughout.
Alliteration - References one of the poetry terms that describes a type of rhyme. Alliteration relies on words that begin with the same, or similar, sound, as opposed to words that end with the same sound. Example: To guard your palace of peace.
Allusion - A reference to a well-known person or event within the context of a work of literature. Example:"Novalis said 'Character is Fate," from The Mayor of Casterbridge.
Amphibrachic Meter - A type of meter, most often used by classic poets, relying on three syllables per metric foot. The sequence is short, long, short.
Amphimacer Meter - Like amphibrachic meter, a metrical foot consisting of three syllables. The sequence is long, short, long.
Anachronism - A literary technique that places a person, place, or thing out of its historical setting and into one which it is not normally associated. Example: - A telephone in the 18th century.
Anacrusis - An extra unstressed syllable at the beginning of a line that is not a part of the metrical pattern.
Analogy - One of several poetry terms that relies upon comparison. An analogy is a story or illustration that parallels the message its user wants to convey in terms that can be easily understood by anyone.
Anapest - A metrical foot consisting of three syllables. The first two syllables are unstressed and the last syllable carries the accent. Example: "To the moon, Alice. To the moon!" The stressed syllable is "moon" in both cases, preceded by two unstressed syllables, "To the."
Anaphora - Repeating the same word or phrase at the beginnings of back to back clauses, lines, sentences, or stanzas. Example:"Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much? Have you reckon'd the earth much?
Have you practis'd so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?"
- From "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman
Antibacchic - A three-syllable foot in meter consisting of two long and one short syllable.
Antithesis - A poetic term referring to the juxtaposition of words with opposite meanings. Example: "To err is human; to forgive, divine” from An Essay on Criticism
by Alexander Pope.Apostrophe - Words spoken to an imaginary person, a real person not present to hear them or perhaps to an object or abstract idea. Shakespeare’s plays and poetry are full of apostrophes.
Ars Poetica - A type of poetry where the poem itself addresses the subject of writing poetry. Example: Ars Poetica by Archibald McLeish.
Assonance - A type of alliteration in which the same vowel sound is repeated either at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of words. Example: I've confused myself so simply I've complicated my song.
Aubade - A poem whose theme is the separation of lovers at dawn. Example: The Sunne Rising by John Donne.
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