Life Style / Poetry Glossary
Accent: A stressed syllable or ictus. These alternate with unstressed syllables or slacks to produce a theoretical metrical pattern termed the rhythm that often, but not always, matches how the line . . . View Full Definition
Accentual Verse: Lines whose rhythm arises from its stressed syllables rather than from the number of its syllables, or from the length of time devoted to their sounding. Old english poems such as beowulf an . . . View Full Definition
Accentual-Syllabic Verse: Lines whose rhythm arises by the number and alternation of its stressed and unstressed syllables, organized into feet. Most english poems from the renaissance to the late eighteenth century . . . View Full Definition
Acephalous: A line of verse without its expected initial syllable.
Acrostic: A word, phrase, or passage spelled out vertically by the first letters of a group of lines in sequence. Sir john davies' hymnes of astraea dedicates 26 acrostic poems to elizabeth i. Edgar a . . . View Full Definition
Action Poetry: Verse written for performance by several voices.
Adonic: A classical greek and latin metre, a dimeter with a dactyl and a spondee / ~ ' ' / ' ' / such as are found at the close of sapphics.
Aesthetic Movement: A literary belief that art is its own justification and purpose, advocated in england by walter pater and practised by edgar allan poe, algernon charles swinburne, oscar wilde, and others.
Alcaics: A four-line classical stanza named after alcaeus, a greek poet, with a predominantly dactylic metre, imitated by alfred lord tennyson's poem, 'milton.'
Alexandrine: A metrical line of six feet or twelve syllables (in english), originally from french heroic verse. Randle cotgrave in his 1611 french-english dictionary explains: 'alexandrin. A verse of 12, . . . View Full Definition
Allegory: Henry cockeram, in his english dictionary (1623), explains this as 'a sentence that must be understood otherwise than the literal interpretation shewes' but does not distinguish among allego . . . View Full Definition
Alliteration: Using the same consonant to start two or more stressed words or syll= ables in a phrase or verse line, or using a series of vowels to begin such words or syllables in sequence. Alliteration . . . View Full Definition
Allusion: A reference to a historical, mythic, or literary person, place, event, movement, etc.
Ambiguity: A statement with two or more meanings that may seem to exclude one another in the context. Grammatical ambiguity (amphibologia) occurs where a word has two or more possible word classes. For . . . View Full Definition
Amphibrach: Greek and latin metrical foot consisting of short, long, and short syllables / ~ ' ~ / (cf. The english word 'romantic'). An example is matthew prior's 'jinny the just.' see under foot below.
Amphimacer : A greek and latin metrical foot consisting of long, short, and long syllables / ' ~ ' / (cf. The english word 'forty-five'). An example is alfred lord tennyson's 'the oak.' see under foot below.
Amphisbaenic Rhyme: A reversed rhyme, such as 'trot' and 'tort.'
Amplification: Rhetorical figures of speech that repeat and vary the expression of a thought.
Anachronism: Someone or something belonging to another time period than the one in which it is described as being.
Anacoluthon : An interruption in a sentence, sometimes indicated by a pause, that is afterwards restarted in a syntactically different way. See also aposiopesis.
Anacreontic Verse: Imitations of the 6th-century b.c. greek poet anacreon, who wrote about love and wine. Thomas moore translated anacreon's odes in 1800. Abraham cowley adapted them in his anacreontics.
Anacrucis: One or two unstressed syllables at the beginning of a line that are unnecessary to the metre.
Anadiplosis : A repetition of the last word in a line or segment at the start of the next line or segment.
Anagram: A word spelled out by rearranging the letters of another word. When both lexical forms appear in the same poem, especially in proximity, a reader may reasonably suspect that the anagram is a . . . View Full Definition
Analepsis: A flashback.