Glossary of Poetry Terms
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Glossary of Poetry Terms

This is a glossary of poetry.

Measures of verse

Types of metre

Below, "short/long" definitions of a syllable of classical languages correspond to "stressed/unstressed" of English language.


  • primus paeon: long-short-short-short
  • secundus paeon: short-long-short-short
  • tertius paeon: short-short-long-short
  • quartus paeon: short-short-short-long

  • first epitrite: short-long-long-long
  • second epitrite: long-short-long-long
  • third epitrite: long-long-short-long
  • fourth epitrite: long-long-long-short

  • minor ionic, or double iamb: short-short-long-long
  • major ionic: long-long-short-short

  • diamb: short-long-short-long
  • ditrochee: long-short-long-short

  • antispast: short-long-long-short
  • choriamb: long-short-short-long

  • tetrabrach or proceleusmatic: short-short-short-short
  • dispondee: long-long-long-long

Verse forms

See also

Main list: List of basic poetry topics

References and further reading

  • M. H. Abrams. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Thomson-Wadsworth, 2005. ISBN 1-4130-0456-3.
  • Chris Baldick. The Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford Univ. Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-860883-7.
  • Chris Baldick. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford Univ. Press, 2001. ISBN 0-19-280118-X.
  • Edwin Barton & G. A. Hudson. Contemporary Guide To Literary Terms. Houghton-Mifflin, 2003. ISBN 0-618-34162-5.
  • Mark Bauerlein. Literary Criticism: An Autopsy. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8122-1625-3.
  • Karl Beckson & Arthur Ganz. Literary Terms: A Dictionary. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1989. ISBN 0-374-52177-8.
  • Peter Childs. The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms. Routledge, 2005. ISBN 0-415-34017-9.
  • J. A. Cuddon. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Penguin Books, 2000. ISBN 0-14-051363-9 .
  • Dana Gioia. The Longman Dictionary of Literary Terms: Vocabulary for the Informed Reader. Longman, 2005. ISBN 0-321-33194-X.
  • Sharon Hamilton. Essential Literary Terms: A Brief Norton Guide with Exercises. W. W. Norton, 2006. ISBN 0-393-92837-3.
  • William Harmon. A Handbook to Literature. Prentice Hall, 2005. ISBN 0-13-134442-0.
  • X. J. Kennedy, et al. Handbook of Literary Terms: Literature, Language, Theory. Longman, 2004. ISBN 0-321-20207-4.
  • V. B. Leitch. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. W. W. Norton, 2001. ISBN 0-393-97429-4.
  • John Lennard, The Poetry Handbook. Oxford Univ. Press, 1996, 2005. ISBN 0-19-926538-0.
  • Frank Lentricchia & Thomas McLaughlin. Critical Terms for Literary Study. Univ. of Chicago Press, 1995. ISBN 0-226-47203-5.
  • David Mikics. A New Handbook of Literary Terms. Yale Univ. Press, 2007. ISBN 0-300-10636-X.
  • Ross Murfin & S. M. Ray. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006. ISBN 0-312-25910-7.
  • John Peck & Martin Coyle. Literary Terms and Criticism. Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. ISBN 0-333-96258-3.
  • Edward Quinn. A Dictionary of Literary And Thematic Terms. Checkmark Books, 2006. ISBN 0-8160-6244-7.
  • Lewis Turco. The Book of Literary Terms: The Genres of Fiction, Drama, Nonfiction, Literary Criticism, and Scholarship. Univ. Press of New England, 1999. ISBN 0-87451-955-1.

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