Glossary of Poetry-Related Terms

  • A couplet is a two-line stanza.
  • An epic poem is an extremely long multi-stanza poem.
  • Meter is the exact arrangement of syllables into repeated patterns in a given line of a poem. The syllables are both stressed and unstressed. Each group of stressed and unstressed syllables is known as a “foot.”
  • A quatrain is a four-line verse (stanza).
  • A quintain is a five-line stanza (verse).
  • A refrain is a word, phrase, or line which is repeated one or more times in a poem.
  • A rhyme is the sharing of an ending sound between words on two or more lines in a poem.
  • Rhyming notation is the manner in which rhymes are indicated. It is the visual representation of the rhymes in articles about poetry, in textbooks, in classroom discussions. The alphabet is used to designate rhyming partnerships
  • A rhyming pattern or scheme is the combination of rhymes in a poem. It is the order in which the rhymes are presented.
  • Stanzas are lines in a poem which are separated from each other by spacing.
  • Syllables are units of pronunciation making up a word. Stressed syllables are long syllables. Unstressed syllables are short syllables.