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The abecedarian is a poetic form from pre-Biblical times. Each line or stanza starts with the letters of the alphabet in sequence.
An acrostic is a poem or song or any piece of writing in which (usually) the first letter of each line (or sentence, or paragraph) spells out a word or a message.
The alexandrine is a line of six iambic feet; one foot longer than the iambic pentameter.
Alliteration refers to the use of similar sounds to begin a sequence of words, e.g. spick and span, kith and kin, jump for joy.
Assonance is the repetition of similar vowel sounds in neighbouring words, to create the effect of rhyme within phrases or lines of verse.
Ballads are narrative folk-songs or folk poems made up of simple four-line stanzas, usually rhyming abcb.
Blank Verse
Blank verse is a type of verse with a regular metre (usually iambic pentameter) but no rhyme, hence ‘blank’.
Bush ballads
The ‘bush ballad’ is a style of poetry that attained great popularity in Australia in the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries.
A caesura is a distinct pause or break in the flow of a line of verse, usually towards the middle.
Any poem mourning a dead person or creature, or a way of life that has passed, or any form of mortality.
An epic poem is a long narrative poem dealing with the struggles and journeys of heroes, individually or in groups.
Free verse
Free verse does without obvious rhyme and a regular metre, and is the dominant verse form of the 20th century.
The haibun is a Japanese literary form characterised by a descriptive and usually personal prose passage, often travel literature, containing or (more often) followed by a haiku which has an elliptical relation to the prose piece.
The haiku is often described as a short non-rhyming poem, usually with a seasonal reference, with seventeen syllables, in three phrases of five, seven and five syllables.
Iambic foot
A metrical foot consisting of an iamb, an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable: today, before, beyond.
An ode is a more or less formal address to a person or an embodied thing.
Refers to the property of a word whose pronunciation sounds like the thing it describes. Examples: buzz, whisper, bang!
A prose poem is a short passage of prose usually with some of the heightened effects of verse: assonance, half-rhyme, a distinct rhythmic shape, intensity of imagery or emotional affect, and so on.
Rhyme is the repetition of a vowel sound at the end of two or more lines in a poem: ‘sleep, weep... creep, asleep’ (William Blake).
Satire is the use of humour and irony to ridicule ignorance or bad behaviour.
The sonnet is a short lyrical and reflective poem of fourteen lines, most often rhymed.
Using the end-words of the lines of a poem as the structural basis for a new, different poem.
Verse novel
A verse novel tells a long and complex story with many characters, much as a novel would, through the medium of narrative verse. Notable Australian verse novelists are Alan Wearne, Dorothy Porter, Les Murray, Steven Herrick and John Tranter.