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Poetry Terms. By: Courtney Lazar. Epigram- A statement, or any brief saying in prose or poetry, in which there is an apparent contradiction i.e. "Beauty when unadorned is most adorned.".

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Poetry Terms

By: Courtney Lazar

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Epigram- A statement, or any brief saying in prose or poetry, in which there is an apparent contradiction

i.e. "Beauty when unadorned is most adorned."

Epithet- A short, poetic nickname--often in the form of an adjective or adjectival phrase--attached to the normal name

i.e. fleet-footed Achilles

Free Verse- Poetry based on the natural rhythms of phrases and normal pauses rather than the artificial constraints of metrical feet

i.e. I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loaf and invite my soul,

I lean and loaf at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

-Walt Whitman “Songs of Myself” first stanza

Prose Poems- Any material that is not written in a regular meter like poetry

i.e. The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, Oh Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.

The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.

Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever.

-Psalm 93

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Italian Sonnet

  • The Petrarchan sonnet has an eight line stanza followed by a six line stanza. The octave has two quatrains rhyming abba, while the sestet may be arranged cdecde, cdcdcd, or cdedce.

"London, 1802" by William Wordsworth

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour: / England hath need of thee: she is a fen/ Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen, / Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, / Have forfeited their ancient English dower/ Of inward happiness. We are selfish men; / Oh! raise us up, return to us again; / And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. / Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart; / Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea: / Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,/ So didst thou travel on life's common way,/ In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart/The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

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Spenserian Sonnet

  • Its rhyme scheme is a b a b b c b c c d c d e e
  • Here, the "abab" pattern sets up distinct four-line groups, each of which develops a specific idea; however, the overlapping a, b, c, and d rhymes form the first 12 lines into a single unit with a separated final couplet.

"Sonnet LIV"

Of this World's theatre in which we stay,/ My love like the Spectator idly sits,/ Beholding me, that all the pageants play,/ Disguising diversely my troubled wits./ Sometimes I joy when glad occasion fits,/And mask in mirth like to a Comedy;/ Soon after when my joy to sorrow flits,/ I wail and make my woes a Tragedy./ Yet she, beholding me with constant eye,/ Delights not in my mirth nor rues my smart;/ But when I laugh, she mocks: and when I cry/

She laughs and hardens evermore her heart./ What then can move her? If nor mirth nor moan,/She is no woman, but a senseless stone.

shakespearean sonnet
Shakespearean sonnet
  • Uses three quatrains; each rhymed differently, with a final, independently rhymed couplet that makes an effective, unifying climax to the whole. Its rhyme scheme is abab, cdcd, efef, gg.

"Sonnet XXIX" by William Shakespeare

When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,/ I all alone beweep my outcast state,/ And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,/ And look upon myself and curse my fate,/ Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,/ Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,/ Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,/ With what I most enjoy contented least,/ Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,/ Haply I think on thee, and then my state,/ (Like to the lark at break of day arising/ From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate,/ For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,/ That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

volta
Volta
  • Asudden change in thought, direction, or emotion near the conclusion of a sonnet.

"London, 1802" by William Wordsworth

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:/ England hath need of thee: she is a fen/ Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,/ Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,/ Have forfeited their ancient English dower / Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;/ Oh! raise us up, return to us again;/ And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power./ Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart;/ Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:/ Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, / So didst thou travel on life's common way,/ In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart/ The lowliest duties on herself did lay.