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Poetry Handbook

The horizontal mark ( ¯ ) used to indicate a stressed or long syllable in a foot of verse.

A short lyric or pastoral poem containing a delicate thought. Most often it is a love lyric.

Most often used for humurous effect, malapropism is a mistaken substitution of a word for another that sounds similar.

Masculine Rhyme
A rhyme containing only one stressed or accented syllable.

Often used as a synonym for metre, measure simply means foot.

Used to suggest a relationship between an object or idea.

Metre, Meter
A measure of rhythmic quantity organized into groups of syllables at regular intervals in a line of poetry. The unit of meter is the foot. Metrical lines are named for the constituent foot and for the number of feet in the line.
  • monometer (1 foot)
  • dimeter (2 feet)
  • trimeter (3 feet)
  • tetrameter (4 feet)
  • pentameter (5 feet)
  • hexameter (6 feet)
  • heptameter (7 feet)
  • octameter (8 feet)

Metrical Pause
Used to compensate for the omission of an unstressed syllable in a foot.

The branch of prosody concerned with meter.

A composer of verse.

A performer who subsisted by reciting verse and singing while playing a harp. Some were traveling entertainers, while others were employed by nobles.

Mixed Metaphor
A suggested relationship of objects or ideas that in some respect is false.

Mock-Epic or Mock-Heroic
A satiric literary form that treats a commonplace subject with the elevated language and heroic style of the classical epic.

The harmonious use of language relating to the variations of stress and pitch.

A metrical foot consisting of three long syllables.

A line of verse containing a single metrical foot or dipody.

A poem where the end rhyme is the same in all lines.

A poem or epigram of a single metrical line.

A one syllable word.

Mora, Morae
The minimal unit of rhythmic measurement in quantitive verse, equal to the time it takes to pronounce a short syllable. Two morae are equivalent to a long syllable.

Mosaic Rhyme
The use of two or more words producing a multiple rhyme. This is often used for comic effect.

A source of inspiration. Also, the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne were called the Muses. Each daughter was associated with an individual art or science.
  • Calliope: Muse of epic poetry
  • Clio: Muse of history
  • Erato: Muse of lyric and love poetry
  • Euterpe: Muse of music, especially wind instruments
  • Melpomene: Muse of tragedy
  • Polymnia: Muse of sacred poetry
  • Terpsichore: Muse of dance and choral song
  • Thalia: Muse of comedy
  • Urania: Muse of astronomy

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