Poetry Line Terms

Poetry Line Terms

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STANZA or VERSE

A group of lines in a Poem

Examples:
Couplet – A two line Stanza
Tercet – Three Line Stanza
Quatrain – Four line Stanza
Quintain – Five line Stanza
Sestet – Six line stanza
Heptastich – Seven line stanza
Octave – Eight line stanza

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REFRAIN

A stanza, line, part of a line, or phrase, generally pertinent to the central topic, which is repeated verbatim, usually at regular intervals throughout a poem, most often at the end of a stanza.

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ENJAMBMENT

The continuation of a complete idea (a sentence or clause) from one line or couplet of a poem to the next line or couplet without a pause. Enjambment comes from the French word for “to straddle.”

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CAESURA

A natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line.
Example: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
                (The pause or caesura is after the ?)

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ENVOY

A short final stanza of a poem

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BLANK VERSE

Poetry written without rhymes usually in iambic pentameter.

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CHAIN VERSE

Phrases or lines are repeated in succeeding stanzas.

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FREE VERSE

Basically anything that is not metered or rhymed.

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