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Poetry Handbook

A hymn of praise, or joy.

A metrical foot consisting of four syllables, one long and three short. Depending on the position of the long syllable, the paeon can be varied in four ways. The foot can be called a primus, secundus, tertius or quartus paeon.

The pantoum consists of a series of quatrains rhyming ABAB in which the second and fourth lines of a quatrain recur as the first and third lines in the succeeding quatrain; each quatrain introduces a new second rhyme as BCBC, CDCD. The first line of the series recurs as the last line of the closing quatrain, and third line of the poem recurs as the second line of the closing quatrain, rhyming ZAZA. See example.

A ludicrous imitation, used for comic effect or ridicule, of the style and content of another work.

A play on words in which the same word is used in different senses.

A word comming from or in relation to another word.

A lampoon or satirical writing.

Pastoral Poetry
Poetry written about the lives of shepherds and country folk. This term has loosely come to include any poems with a rural aspect

Pastoral poetry associated with French writers of the 12th and 13th centuries.

Pattern Poetry
Poetry written with words, letters, and lines to produce a visual image to help convey the idea or topic of the poem. See concrete poetry, shape poetry, or visual poetry.

Intervals between syllables of verse.

A line of verse consisting of five metrical feet.

Perfect Rhyme
Words that are identical in sound to the stressed syllable and consonants that follow. This is also called true rhyme and exact rhyme.

The substitution of an elaborate phrase for a simple word or expression.

In literature, the person doing the talking. Most often in narration, persona is the "I".

A form of metaphor where an inanimate object, animal, or idea is given human-like characteristics such as "Night swallowed the sun's last ray of light"

Petrarchan Sonnet
An Italian sonnet form, an octave with a rhyme scheme of abbaabba and a sestet rhyming variously. The sestet usually rhymes cdecde or cdccdc. The octave introduces the problem, while the sestet provides the resolution.

Play On Words
See pun.

Written expression of emotion or ideas in an arrangement of words/verse, most often rhythmically.

Poesy or Poesie
The art of writing poems. A poem or a group of poems.

A person who works with words and uses them to discover and explore both the inner and outer world. A poet finds the quality hidden in experiences, great or trivial, terrible or wonderful, and tries to re-create and extend them onto paper, thus finding a greater understanding of them. Poems are a bridge between the world and poet in which the reader will walk to gain a wider or deeper view of what the poet sees.

A trivial, or unskilled versifier.

Having the qualities associated with the art of poetry, and the capacities of those who practice it.

A dabbler in poetry, or a poetaster.

Poet Laureate
A poet honored for his/her artistic achievement.

Poets' Corner
A portion of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey which contains the remains of many famous literary figures, and also displays memorials to others who are buried elsewhere.

Polyphonic Prose
A type of free verse using alliteration and assonance, but often it looks like prose.

Polyrhythmic Verse
A type of free verse characterized by a variety of rhythms, often non-integrated or contrasting.

A word consisting of three or more syllables.

A word created or made from parts of other words. Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky combines lithe and slimy into slithy, and the word smog, from smoke and fog.

Poulter's Measure
A meter consisting of alternating twelve-syllable and fourteen-syllable lines.

A metrical foot consisting of four short syllables.

Having an excess of one syllable in the first foot of a line of verse.

Ordinary or plain everyday language used in speech or writing with no patterns or rhymes.

The systematic study of poetic meter.

Prothalamium or Prothalamion
A song or poem in honor of a bride and bridegroom before their wedding.

A play on words that sound similar for a humorous effect.

A metrical foot consisting of two short or unaccented syllables.

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