Poetry Handout 2: The Structure of Poetry

Stanza
A group of consecutive lines in a poem that form a single unit; a division of a poem that is often referred to as a “paragraph of poetry”

Couplet
2 lines

Triplet
3 lines

Quatrain
4 lines

Quintet
5 lines

Sestet
6 lines

Septet
7 lines

Octave
8 lines

Rhyme
The similarity of likeness of sound in two or more words

Perfect/exact Rhyme
Rhyme involving sounds that are exactly the same

Imperfect/Approximate Rhyme
Rhyme involving words that sound similar but are not exactly the same like sun/gone

Eye rhyme
Rhyme that depends on spelling rather than sound, words that look like they should rhyme but don’t

Internal Rhyme
A rhyme between words in one line of poetry

End Rhyme
Rhyme between words at the end of 2 or more lines in a poem

Rhyme Scheme
The pattern or sequence in which end rhyme occurs throughout a poem

Rhythm
The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in words in a line of poetry; rhythm may be regular or irregular

Meter
A regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry

Foot
A unit of meter; can consist of 2 or 3 syllables

Scansion
The process of marking lines of poetry to show the type of feet and number of feet they contain

Iambic*
U/

Trochaic*
/U

Spondaic
//

Pyrric
UU

Anapestic*
UU/

Dactylic*
/UU

Number of feet in a line
Mono
Di
Tri
Tetra
Penta
Hex
Hept
Oct

Verse Forms
Rhymed
Blank
Free

Rhymed verse
End rhyme and regular meter

Blank Verse
Unrhymed iambic pentameter

Free verse
No regular rhythm, no rhyme