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
MonoDiTriTetraPentaHexHeptOct

Verse Forms
Rhymed Blank Free

Rhymed verse
End rhyme and regular meter

Blank Verse
Unrhymed iambic pentameter

Free verse
No regular rhythm, no rhyme