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Poetry Handbook

Often purposely used in poetry for effect, discordant sounds in the jarring juxtaposition of harsh letters or syllables.

Rhythmical unit often used as a synonym for rhythm or metre. See Free Verse.

Caesura, Cesura
A pause in the reading of a line that does not affect the metrical account of the timing. It may be dictated by grammer, logic, or cadence, and is analogous to the pause for breath at the close of a musical phrase. Cesura is masculine after a stressed syllable, and feminine after an unstressed syllable.

In a literary sense, the authoritative works of a particular writer. It is an accepted list of works perceived to represent a cultural, ideological, historical, or biblical grouping.

Often restricted to a Provençal love song of 5, 6, or 7 stanzas, the envoy, but is not always equal in length. The canso contains both masculine and feminine rhymes.

A major division in a long poem. References made to The Cantos refers to the untitled poem by Ezra Pound.

A general term for the words of a Provençal or Italian love song often relating to the praise of beauty. See Troubadour.

Carpe Diem
Latin for "seize the day," a common motif in lyric verse throughout the history of poetry, with the emphasis on making the most of current pleasures because life is short and time is flying.

The misuse or abuse of words, or the use of the wrong word for the context, as a tone for repent.

Catalectic, Catalexis
A line from which unstressed syllables have been dropped is said to be truncated or catalectic. The act is called truncation or catalexis. Such lines

Catalog Verse
A poem comprised of a list of persons, places, things, or abstract ideas which share a common denominator. As an ancient form, it was originally a type of didactic poetry.

The use of a grammatical substitute, like a pronoun, which has the same reference as the next word or phrase.

A poem made up of lines from many different poems. Often such a poem is called a patchwork poem.

Chain Rhyme
A rhyme scheme in which a rhyme in a line of one stanza is used as a link to a rhyme in the next stanza.

Chain Verse
Similar to chain rhyme, but links words, phrases, or lines (instead of rhyme) by repeating them in succeeding stanzas.

Chanson De Geste
A song of heroic deeds that refers to a class of Old French epic poems of the Middle Ages.

Chant Royal
It alters the ballade structure using five stanzas, each of 11 lines and a five line envoy with the customary refrain. The rhyme scheme is ababccddede, and the envoy ddede.

A small book or pamphlet containing ballads, poems, popular tales or tracts, etc.

The inversion in a phrase or clause of the order of words in the preceding phrase or clause.

Choree, Choreus
A rare form of trochee.

A metre beginning with a trochee and ending with an iamb, with each of the three remaining feet containing a trochee and an iamb.

Adelaide Crapsey invented this form that consists of five lines. The five lines are of two, four, six, eight, and two syllables respectively.

Simply stated as the adherence to traditional standards that are universally valid and enduring.

A form of light comic verse, originated by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. Clerihews are two couplets in length, rhyming aabb, usually dealing with a person mentioned in the initial rhyme. See clerihew.

A series of words, phrases, or sentences arranged in a continuously ascending order of intensity. When the ascending order is not maintained, an anticlimax or bathos results.

Closed Couplet
A couplet that is logically or grammatically complete.

Close Rhyme
A rhyme of two close words, such as "red" "head".

Closet Drama
A literary work written in the form of a drama, but intended by the author only for reading, not for performance in the theater.

The effect of finality, balance, and completeness which leaves the reader with a sense of fulfilled expectations.

Common Measure, Common Meter
A meter consisting chiefly of seven iambic feet arranged in rhymed pairs. A quatrian with a line of four accents followed by a line of three accents then repeated to create the four lines.

Companion Poem
When a poem associates another, often complimenting it.

An ingenious, logically complicated image, or an elaborate metaphor.

Concrete Poetry
Substitues for conventional elements of a poem as metre, rhyme, stanzaic form, and even normal syntax, which forms a structurally original visual shape, preferably abstract, through the use of reduced language, fragmented letters, symbols and other typographical variations to create an extreme graphic impact on the reader's attention. Sometimes seen as shape poetry.

Any meaning suggested by the sound or the look of a word, or how it is associated.

The close repetition of the same end consonants of stressed syllables with differing vowel sounds.

The substance of a poem.

In literature, established "codes" of basic principles and procedures for types of works that are recurrent. They strongly influence writers to select content, forms, style, diction, etc.

Two lines of verse that are usually joined in rhyme and have the same metre to form a unit.

A game in which one player gives a word or line of verse to the other players who must match it in rhyme.

A metrical foot consisting of a short syllable between two long syllables. Usually found in ancient poetry.

Cross Rhyme
Occurs when the syllable at the end of a line rhymes with with a word in the middle of a line before or after it. See Welsh-Forms.

Typically applied to epic or narrative poems about a mythical or heroic event or character.

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