The English Language has many fascinating quirks. And no where are they more poignant than in poetry.
While on the surface, poetry can be seen as simplistic – or, for some, overly pretentious – there are actually a huge number of rules, terminology, and rules of thumb that can be used within it. Whether it’s to improve a poem, to make a poem more abstract, or to simply create a certain style, the quirks of poetry continue to breathe new life into poems around the world.
Today, I’m going to be listing ten of them.
Now, these terms are not exclusive to poetry. You may find that some can also carry over to prose, scriptwriting, or even non-fiction. And hey, if you have some uncommon phrases about writing or language that aren’t included on this list, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Now, without further ado, here are ten poetic terms that you’ve never heard of!
Anaphora: Rhetorical or Poetic Repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive stanzas.
Love is warmth on a sunny day.
Love is holding until you slip away.
Love is waiting for you to come home.
Love is knowing it, until it is gone.
Kigo: A term used for words which are associated with, or describe, a particular season.
Blossoms = Spring.
Orange leaves = Autumn/Fall
Homeoteleuton: Repetition of words that end in similar sounding syllables.
A little pickle plays a fiddle.
A small mole makes home in a hole.
Syncope: Removing a syllable from a word, for stylistic effect or to produce an accent.
Apocope: The ommission of the final letter or syllable in a word.
Melopoeia: Coined by Ezra pound, this term describes the overall soundscape of a poem.
The poem has a vibrant, playful atmosphere.
The poem’s long stanzas creates a slow, melancholy feel.
Enjambment: Lines of a verse that run on into the following line without punctuation, producing a continuous sentence across multiple lines.
And so the man ran
faster and further until
the world vanished
Collage: A style of poetry, made up of lines of other poetry, or real world events.
One of the best examples of this is T.S.Eliot’s The Wasteland, which was created by using newspaper clippings, overheard speech, and nursery rhymes.
Aubade: A term to describe poetry or phrases that focus around dawn, be it in celebration or frustration.
A smile spread across my lips as the dawn rose.
And so the night fled, and the spell whittled away, with every inch of daybreak.
Kenning: A term used to describe poetry which talks about a particular subject, without ever naming it within the poem.
My favourite example of this is In Paris with You by James Fention – an adorable poem about a loving relationship.