More Literary Terms Made Simple – Poetry

Tupac Shakur

Image via Wikipedia

Still confused over literary terms?

Here are some more words explained. This time it’s poetic terms.

  • Stanza –  Basically a paragraph or unit of a poem. You can recognize them because there’s usually a space in-between each one.
  • Free VersePoem that doesn’t adhere to a set rhyming scheme. Basically a freer type of poetry.
  • Acrostic – A poem that spells something out when you read the first letter of each line. Here is an excellent one that spells out dragon.
  • Alliteration – `The tall trees towered over him.’ A repetition of consonants.
  • Sibilance – Similar to alliteration but specific to the letter S. `She sang soft songs of sadness.’
  • Para-rhymeSometimes known as getting the rhyme wrong. It’s very common in rap music. The sound rather than the whole word is rhymed. I.e. rhyme and writhe.
  • Doggerel – Forced or bad rhyme. Usually resulting from trying too hard to fit a specific meter and doing it badly. E.g. She turned back time, while writing a rhyme, he gave her a dime and she said `fine‘.
  • Meter – The basic structure of rhythm in a poem.
  • Enjambment – When a line of the poem runs on to the next line, usually to complete a phrase or sentence.
  • Caesura – A pause or complete stop usually indicated by —
  • Syllable – This is a unit of sound within a word. I.e Po – em = 2 syllables.
  • Iamb – A metrical foot (a way of structuring poetry) which uses a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one.  I.e. The STRONGer the STRess, the More Interest.
  • Dactyl – Similar to above except it’s a long or stressed syllable and two short/unstressed syllables.

To see more details or poetic terms see:

* Random Poetry Note:

Tupac Shakur used Iambic stress in `Keep Ya Head Up‘. You can hear this more clearly in his performance here: 

Image via Wikipedia

27 thoughts on “More Literary Terms Made Simple – Poetry

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