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Sonnet Rhyme Scheme and Literary Poetry Terms

Updated on May 1, 2010

Alliteration:    The repetition of speech sounds in a sequence of nearby words.

Allusion:         A brief reference, explicit or indirect, to a person, place or event, or to another literary work or passage.

Assonance:     The repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds.

Ballad Stanza:           The most common type of quatrain. Lines of iambic tetrameter alternate with iambic trimeter rhyming abcb.

Blank Verse:  Unrhymed iambic pentameters.

Caesura:         A scansion mark. a double bar indicating a natural pause in the speaking voice. Initial caesura comes towards beginning, medial in middle, terminal at end.

Closed Form:             Most formal form also called fixed form. Includes sonnet villenelle and sestina.

Conceit:          An extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs an entire poem or poetic passage.

Consonance:  The repetition of two or more consonants using different vowels, for example, the "i" and "a" followed by the "tter" sound in "pitter patter." It repeats the consonant sounds, but not vowel sounds.

Couplet:         Two lines of verse, usually coupled by rhyme.

Dimeter:         2 feet

Dramatic Monologue:           A single speaker (who is not the poet) addresses a dramatically defined listener in a specific situation and at a critical moment.

Dramatic Poetry:       Written in the voice of a character assumed by the poet.

Elegy: A formal lament for a dead person.

Elision:           The omission of one or more sounds in a word or phrase.

End-stopped line:      A line with a caesura at the end.

Enjambment/Enjambed Line:         The thrust of an incomplete sentence carri.e.s over from the end of one line to the beginning of the next.

Epic Poetry:   A long narrative poem on a great serious subject.

Eye Rhyme:   Words whose endings are spelled alike, but have over time acquired different pronunciations. i.e. prove/love daughter/ laughter.

Feminine Rhyme:      Rhyme words in which a stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed syllable; i.e. chiming/rhyming.

Foot:   The basic unit of metrical structure; a combination of two or three stressed or unstressed syllables.

Free Verse:    Poetry that makes little or no use of traditional rhyme and meter.

Heroic Couplet:         Poems constructed from a sequence of rhyming pairs of iambic pentameter lines. Sustained use of closed couplets.

Hexameter:    six feet

Iamb:  An unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. A common metrical foot

Iambic Pentameter:   5 feet of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.

Internal Rhyme:        Rhyme that falls in the middle of a line.

Lyric Poetry: Fairly short poem in the voice of a single speaker.

Masculine Rhyme:    A rhyme consisting of a single stressed syllable.

Meter:             The regular recurring units of a poems rhythm.

Monometer:   Each line has 1 foot.

Near Rhyme:             Changing the vowel sound or concluding consonant; i.e. gone/alone room/storm firm/room.

Octave:           The first unit of an Italian sonnet, it is eight lines.

Ode:    Long lyric poem of elevated style and elaborate stanzaic structure. 3 types.

Pindaric Ode:            original Greek has three part structure each written to celebrate someone. 2.

English Pindaric Ode:           No 3-part structure but sections of varying length, varying line length, and varying rhyme scheme.

Horatian Ode:            Usually written in a repeated stanza form.

Onomatopoeia:          Combination of words whose sound seems to resemble the sound it denotes; i.e. oozed oil sounds squeezed.

Open Form:   The same thing as free verse.

Pastoral:         Rural subjects and aspects of life in the countryside among shepherds, cowherds and other farm workers that are often romanticized and depicted in a highly unrealistic manner.

Pentameter     5 feet

Personification:         A description or representation of an inanimate object as a living person or animal.

Quatrain:       A stanza of four lines rhymed or unrhymed. It is the most common of all English stanzaic forms.

Rhyme:           The concurrence in two or more lines of the same last stressed vowel and all sounds following that vowel.

Rhyme Scheme:         The pattern or rhyming lines in a poem.

Rhythm:         The seri.e.s of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem.

Romantic Poetry:      Emphasized intuition over reason and the pastoral over the urban, often eschewing classical forms and language in an effort to use ‘real’ language. Romantic poetry referred to the natural aspects of the world

Scansion:        Analysis of stressed and unstressed syllables; scanning a line to determine its division into metrical feet.

Sestet:             The second unit of an Italian sonnet. It is six lines.

Shaped Poetry:          A poem that makes a shape.

Sonnet - English or Shakespearean:            Three quatrains and the turn at the end of line 12 followed by  a couplet. abab cdcd efef gg

Sonnet - Italian or Petrarchan:        Features an octave followed by a sestet with the turn lying between them. Statement; counterstatement. abba abba cde cde

Spondee:        Two syllables with equally strong stresses.

Stanza:           A grouping of a set number of lines separated from others by a space

Tercet:            A stanza of three lines traditionally linked with a single rhyme.

Terza Rima:               A variant of a tercet in which the second line of each stanza rhymes with the first and third lines of the next.

Tetrameter:    4 feet

Trimeter:        3 feet

Trochee:         A stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable. In many trochaic lines the final unstressed syllable is dropped.

Turn/Volta:    The change in direction of argument or narrative in a sonnet.

Verse Paragraph:      Verse paragraphs are stanzas with no regular number of lines or groups of lines. Verse paragraphs are frequently used in blank verse and in free verse.


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    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 6 weeks ago from Canada

      Thank you Falsor Wing, this is a handy list to have.