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Course Study Material

Types of Poetry

Course Material Questions and Answers Review Students currently taking classes: 2
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  • The correct definition of a stanza is

    a unit within a poem

    Rationale: A stanza is a unit within a larger poem, consisting of at least two lines of poetry with a space differentiating it from the next unit below. It’s equivalent in prose would be a paragraph, so typically each unit incorporates a specific thought or point.

  • A couplet is

    a pair of lines in a poem

    Rationale: A couplet is a pair of lines in poetry, which usually rhyme and have the same meter though they do not necessarily have to. An example of a simple rhyming couplet would be the commonly used expression, “rain, rain, go away/ come again another day.”

  • An acrostic poem is

    a poem in which the first letter, syllable, or word of each line spells out a word or message

    Rationale: An acrostic poem is one in which the first letter, syllable, or word of each line or paragraph spells out a word or message when read from top to bottom. It can also be used as a method of memory retrieval. For example, “ROY G BIV” is often used to remember the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet

  • A quatrain takes the form of

    a four-line stanza within a poem

    Rationale: A quatrain is typically a stanza consisting of four lines, though it could also simply be a four-line poem on its own. It can incorporate a variety of rhyme schemes, including aaaa, abab, and aabb.

  • A ballad is

    a narrative set to music in which stanzas have an abcb rhyme scheme

    Rationale: A ballad is a form of poetry that is characteristic of the medieval period. It is often a narrative set to music, divided into quatrains in which the second and fourth lines rhyme (known as an abcb rhyme scheme). However, there is often considerable variation in meter and rhyme scheme from one ballad to another.

  • A blank verse is defined as

    poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter

    Rationale: Blank verse is a type of poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. It is often thought to be the most common and influential form of poetry in England since the 1500’s. Many of Shakespeare’s plays were written in this style.

  • Not to be confused with blank verse, free verse is

    a poetic form that does not use meter or rhyme

    Rationale: Because free verse does not use rhyme, meter, or any pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables, it flows much in the same way as natural speech. However, in many cases it may still remain written in such a way that it is obvious it is poetry rather than prose. For example, the poet may choose to divide each phrase into lines or stanzas.

  • Lyric poetry is

    a type of poetry traditionally set to music

    Rationale: Lyric poetry is a type of poetry that is traditionally set to music or to a beat. They have specific meters and rhyme schemes. It is an umbrella term representing multiple types of poetry, including sonnets, ballads, odes, and villanelles.

  • The correct definition of a sonnet is

    a 14-line poem with a strict rhyme scheme

    Rationale: A sonnet is a poem set to a strict rhyme scheme and meter. The English Sonnet, which Shakespeare is famous for, is 14 lines long, written in iambic pentameter, and follows a strict rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg. There are many other variations, such as the Italian sonnet, which follows an assortment of rhyme schemes and structures.

  • A haiku is

    a Japanese nature poem

    Rationale: A haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry, consisting of 3 lines with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line. Typically, the haiku is written about nature.

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