Poetry Glossary: Complete Glossary Compilation

“Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.” -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Throughout the duration of this year, I have presented a number of different pieces of a poetic glossary; each article within the series, explored a number of poetic techniques and practices, which may be used to assist the writing of poetry. Within this blog post, I have compiled and increased the accessibility of, all of these features.


Poetry Glossary – 20 Different Forms of Poetry:

Throughout the years, many different types of poetry have been created and many still are emerging, therefore it is unlikely that they all have been documented. In this post I will strive to name and define, as many types of poem as possible, creating a bank of poetry terms for everyone to use. Thank you for taking your time to read my blog.

  • Acrostic Poetry:   Poetry in which, the first, last or another letter on each line, creates a word or phrase. Acrostics may also appear in psalms and certain texts.


  • Ballad: A ballad is a quatrain (four line stanza), with a rhyming pattern arranged A B A B. On top of this, ballads are usually narrative poems.


  • Blank Verse: Blank verse is a form of poetry where no rhyme is present, however there is iambic pentameter.


Iambic Pentameter is a line of verse with five metrical feet (a stressed syllable followed by one or two unstressed syllables), each consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable, for example Two households, both alike in dignity. -Definition (Google)

  • Cinquain: Cinquain is a form of poem with a five line stanza. Latterly, the term cinquain has come to cover 5 line symbolic verse poetry, demonstrated below.


The Shadows –


Concealing, Consuming.

Swallowing me whole

Creature of the night,



  • Diamante: A 7 line poem which takes on the form of a diamond.                                                 Similar to the cinquain, demonstrated above, the fifth line is missed and two more verb and adjectival phrase lines are injected. The synonym for the subject then comes after this.


  • Epic: An epic is a narrative poem, which tells the story of heroic deeds or actions.


  • Epigram Poem: An epigram is a short poem, usually consisting of 4 or 5 lines, which expresses an idea in a witty or amusing fashion. For example:


“I can resist everything except temptation” – Oscar Wilde


  • Found Poem: A poem created by taking information, text and passages from other sources and editing it, therefore making it poetic.


  • Horatian Ode: A Horatian Ode is a poem in which, a devotion is payed to a person, object or thing. The poem may have a sense of meter and follows the rhyming pattern    abab cdecde.


  • Kenning: A series of complex metaphors, used to describe a single subject or word (a circumlocution). For example:








  • Lai: A lai is a lyrical poem, organised in octosyllabic couplets (lines of verse of 8 syllables which rhyme). The poem is often romantic and nature and was traditionally sung by Medieval minstrels.


  • Limerick: A traditionally comical poem, which follows the rhyming structure aabba. For example:


There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’

-Edward Lear


  • Memoriam stanza:A quatrain written in the style of iambic pentameter which follows the rhyming system abba. The style was first used by Alfred Tennyson.


  • Pastoral Poem: A poem reflecting on rural lifestyle. In literature, authors use a number of techniques to make the complex life seem a simple one.


  • Petrarchan: A 14 line sonnet which employs iambic pentameter for the first octave  and is followed by  normal rhyme (the sestet). The rhyme scheme goes as follows: abbaabba  cddcee or cdecde


  • Quatrain: A stanza consisting of 4 lines. In many poems, lines two and four rhyme whilst being the same length.


Ours and Their’s:

Our sweet-safe county haven,

Their wary; East-End dwell.

Our dormant peaceful streets,

Their active, buzzing hell…


  • Rondeau: A poem with ten or twelve lines, with only two rhymes collectively.  The opening words are also used as the refrain. For example, In Flanders’ Fields is an example of a rondeau.


  • Sestina: Sestina is a form of poem which contains, six line stanzas, followed by a three line envoi (conclusion). Although Sestinas did not originally rhyme, so do.


  • Tanka: Extremely similar to a haiku, a tanka employs a 5 7 5 7 7 syllable pattern. In addition to a normal haiku, it may contain a number of different elements such as metaphor and personification. Rhyme is rarely present in a tanka.


The dead of Autumn

Walking among the fallen,

Crunching, dry bodies.

Their resting place on the ground,

A solemn future for them.



Poetry Glossary – Different Types of ‘Meter’ Explained:

Throughout the years, many different types of poetry have been created and many still are emerging, therefore meaning there are many different types of metre in poetry;  although it is one of the most important techniques in writing, it is a not often talked about aspect. In this post I will attempt to explain metre, and it’s different forms in poetry.


What is Metre?

Metre (also known as  foot), studied under the field of prosody, is used to measure the rhythm in poetry. Metre is made up of a number of stressed and unstressed syllables, often ranging from one to four – it can vary on the type of metre used. For example:

do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.” – Dr. Seuss

In this line of poem by Dr. Seuss, we may observe that the stress is on certain syllables. This is an example of Iambic Metre.


Iambic Metre:

Iambic Metre, perhaps one of the most common forms of feet in poetry, is a foot which starts with an unstressed syllable, such as avocado, and ending with as stressed syllable. On one hand, it may span a single line, however it may be a short as a single phrase.


Trochiaic Metre:

Trochiaic Metre begins with a stressed syllable and ends with an unstressed syllable – the opposite of Iambic Feet.


Anapesetic Metre:

Anapesetic Metre is a foot which starts with two unstressed syllables, which is followed by a stressed syllable. For example:




You made a snap


Dactylic Metre:

Similar to Anapesetic Metre, Dactylic Metre begins with a stressed syllable, and is followed by two unstressed syllables. This may come in a number of variations, however one notable example of Dactylic Metre is that by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.



This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks…


Spondaic Metre:

A foot consisting of two stressed syllables.


Pyrrhic Metre:

Pyrrhic Metre is a form of feet, made up of two unstressed syllables. It is often used to create a variation in rhyming patterns and is popular among Greek poems.

Don Juan –

“My way is to begin with the beginning.” – Lord Byron


These rules of metre, when applied with the feet lengths below, may be added together in order to create terms for describing poetry. For example, Iambic Pentametre and Spondaic Hexametre.


  1. One foot:             Monometer.
  2. Two feet:             Dimeter.
  3. Three feet:          Trimeter.
  4. Four feet:            Tetrameter.
  5. Five feet:             Pentameter.
  6. Six feet:               Hexameter.
  7. Seven feet:         Heptameter.
  8. Eight feet:          Octameter.




Poetry Glossary – Eight Different Poetic Techniques:

Throughout the years, many different types of poetry have been created and many still are emerging, therefore meaning there are many different devices used in poetry; poetic devices form the basis for any written piece. In this post, I will identify and explain, 8 different poetic techniques.


Colloquialism – Frequently used in the poetry of Shakespeare, colloquialism is the act of using informal language in poetry and writing; the form of the language is of that spoken in a normal conversation.


Dissonance – In poetry, dissonance is the use of contradictory language, often disturbing the fluidity of words:

“The clinching interlocking claws, a living, fierce, gyrating wheel,

Four beating wings, two beaks, a swirling mass tight grappling,

In tumbling turning clustering loopsstraight downward falling.”

– ‘The Dalliance of Eagles’ – Walt Whitman


Hyperbole – Often used to express time or used in sarcastic manner, hyperbole, is the exaggeration of words for emphasis. It is a predominant device used in poetry, especially in that written for children.

Sonnet C –

…But thine shall always be the one for me.

My love for you is always a-fresh

For our passion shallt never go old and crusty.


Jargon- Jargon is the act of using a specific phrase, stereotypically only known, to a group of people or thing.


Oxymoron –  Similar to dissonance, oxymoron are words of phrases which contradict each-other. For example:

“I am busy doing nothing.”

As a result of using oxymoron, tension and drama may be created…


Pathetic Fallacy – An alternative version of a simile; pathetic fallacy, is the comparison of human feelings and behaviour, to an inanimate object or thing.


Personification – In writing, personification is the act of applying human qualities, to a non-human thing.


Soliloquy – Customarily used in the works of many playwrights and poets, soliloquy is the direct expression of a person’s thoughts or feelings, on stage (monologue), or in a text.

“Fair Nature’s eye, rise, rise again, and make

Perpetual day; or let this hour be but

A year, a month, a week, a natural day,

That Faustus may repent and save his soul!”

– ‘Dr Faustus’ – Christopher Marlowe




Poetry Glossary – Application of Punctuation Within Poetry:

Throughout the years, many different types of poetry have been created and many still are emerging, therefore meaning there are many different applications of punctuation within poetry; although poetic devices and structure may be vital, grammar may define the poignancy and intricacy of poetry too. Within this blog post, I will explore and identify a number of the effects, punctuation may have on a poem:


Caesura – Often used to create rhythm within poetry, caesura is the use of punctuation, not at the end of a line of writing.

‘Beowulf’ – Unknown

LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings

of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,

we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!

End-Stopped Line – An end-stopped line within poetry, is a line which ends with a full stop. As a result of a writer’s use of a full stop, a pause for effect may occur, or the end of a poetic line may be signified.


Enjambment – The act of carrying on a sentence, after the termination of a line of poetry; enjambment, is used to make the work flow, therefore suspending the engagement of the reader.



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