Stanza: Definition and Examples |


stanza definition in literature

Define stanza. stanza synonyms, stanza pronunciation, stanza translation, English dictionary definition of stanza. n. One of the divisions of a poem, composed of two or more lines usually characterized by a common pattern of meter, rhyme, and number of lines. References in classic literature? Stanza definition is - a division of a poem consisting of a series of lines arranged together in a usually recurring pattern of meter and rhyme: strophe. How to use stanza in a sentence. Stanza definition: A stanza is a group of lines in poem that are separated physically using spaces between the different stanzas. What is a Stanza in Literature? A group of lines in a poem that are separated in a poem are referred to as stanzas. While stanzas may involve rhyme scheme, this is .

Stanza | Definition of Stanza by Merriam-Webster

A stanza is a group of lines form a smaller unit within a poem. A single stanza is usually set apart from other lines or stanza within a poem by a double line break or a change in indentation. Stanzas can have any meter or rhyme schemeor none at all.

However, that way that stanzas work are different in formal verse that has meter and rhyme scheme and free verse that does not. In formal verse —that is, poetry with a strict meter and rhyme scheme—a stanza may contain multiple meters and different rhymes. For example, some stanzas alternate between iambic pentameter and iambic tetrameter. However, the general rule about stanzas in formal verse is that their form recurs from stanza to stanza—the words are different in each stanza, but the general metrical stanza definition in literature and rhyme scheme are usually the same in each stanza, stanza definition in literature.

Here's an example. In this two-stanza poem by Emily Dickinson, stanza definition in literature first stanza alternates lines of iambic tetrameter eight syllables with lines of iambic trimeter six syllablesand the rhyme scheme is A B C B.

Since this is formal verse, the second stanza should be expected to repeat the same pattern the same meter and rhyme scheme, but using different rhymeswhich it does.

In free verse —or, poetry without meter or rhyme scheme—the stanza is a unit that is defined by meaning or pacing, rather than by meter or rhyme. In other words, a stanza break may be used in free verse to create a pause in the poem, or to signal a shift in the poem's focus. In free verse, unlike in formal verse, stanzas are often irregular throughout the stanza definition in literature, so a poem may contain a dozen two-line couplets shuffled in with a handful of six-line sestets and one much longer stanza.

Notice how the stanza breaks serve to break the poem into units of speech or thought—much like paragraphs in prose. Because it is the nature of garden paths to be circular, each night, after my wanderings, I would find myself at my front door, staring at it, barely able to make out, in darkness, the glittering knob.

It stanza definition in literature, she said, a great discovery, albeit my real life. But certain nights, she said, the moon was barely visible through the clouds and the music never started.

A night of pure discouragement. And still the next night I would begin again, and often all would be well. There are other types of stanzas that are not simply defined by their number of lines, stanza definition in literature. These specialized types of stanzas are defined by specific rhyme scheme or metrical requirements, or they always appear in specific poetic forms.

Here are just a few of the more common types of stanzas that are defined by rhyme scheme or meter. Stanzas consisting of four or more lines may sometimes be described as containing shorter stanzas within them, even if there is no stanza break.

For example, the first two lines of a quatrain may be referred to as a couplet, even if they do not form their own stanza. This can make it easier, when speaking or writing about a poem, to break larger pieces down into units that are shorter than stanzas but longer than individual lines. The same is true of grouping multiple stanzas together. Two distinct quatrains may be described as making up a single octave, as is often the case with sonnets —the two quatrains that begin a sonnet are, together, referred to as the octave.

Similarly, the two halves of an octave can always also be referred to as quatrains. What this means is that while stanzas are usually set off from other stanzas by lines breaks or indentation, that isn't always the case.

For instance, fourteen-line sonnets often appear without any stanza breaks at all—and yet the first eight lines of the poem are still referred to as the octave. In some cases, a stanza can be broken stanza definition in literature multiple ways.

For example, a stanza that is a sestet may be described as consisting of two tercets, even though there may not be a stanza break between the two tercets to distinguish them. On the other hand, a sestet may also be described as consisting of three couplets. Neither would be improper, but which one you choose may be informed by a few separate factors. A sestet with the rhyme scheme ABCABC would more likely stanza definition in literature described as consisting of two tercets than three couplets, since it would be more natural to break the stanza up into two units with a rhyme scheme of ABC than to break it into three units with rhyme schemes of AB, CA, and BC.

A sestet with an ABABAB rhyme scheme, on the other hand, would more properly be described as consisting of three couplets, since such a stanza could be thought of as breaking down into three units with rhyme schemes of AB. In some cases it can be used interchangeably with "stanza," while in others it can't:. Here's a contemporary example of the use of couplets in a work of free verse by the poet Max Ritvo.

Tercets are the basic unit of a form known as the villanellewhich follows an A B A rhyme scheme and has two refrains that repeat throughout the poem. These two tercets are the opening two stanzas of one of the more famous modern examples of the villanelle, Dylan Thomas;s "Do no go gentle into that good night.

Do not go gentle into that good nightOld age should burn and rave at close of day ; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is rightBecause their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. This ballad by Edna St. Here's an example of a poem by Edgar Allen Poe written entirely in cinquains. Helen, thy beauty is to me Like stanza definition in literature Nicean barks of yore That gently, o'er a stanza definition in literature seaThe weary, way-worn wanderer bore To his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont to roamThy stanza definition in literature hair, thy classic faceThy Naiad airs have brought me home To the glory that was GreeceAnd the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo, in yon brilliant window- niche How statue-like I see thee standThe agate lamp within thy handstanza definition in literature, Ah! Psyche, from the regions stanza definition in literature Are Holy Land! The lines at the end of this sonnet may be referred to as a "rhyming couplet, stanza definition in literature.

Notice how the final two lines are the only adjacent lines in the whole poem to rhyme; this is yet another factor that sets them apart as a couplet. Those hours, that with gentle work did frame The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell, Will play the tyrants to the very same And that unfair which fairly doth excel; For never-resting time leads summer on To hideous winter, and confounds him there; Sap checked with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone, Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness every where: Then were not summer's distillation left, A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass, Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft, Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was: But flowers distilled, though they with winter meetLeese but their show; their substance still lives sweet, stanza definition in literature.

This brief excerpt from a longer love poem by the Roman poet Ovid makes use of elegiac couplets though the original meter is lost in translation. Although the couplets aren't separated from one another by double line breaks, each half of the quatrain below may be referred to as a couplet because of the metrical pattern they followed in the original Latin, as well as the AA BB rhyme scheme they follow in English.

Heav'n knows, dear maid, I love no other fair ; In thee lives all my love, my heav'n lies there. This sestina by Rudyard Kipling is a good example of the sestina's use of envoia brief concluding stanza to a poem. The example here is an excerpt of the sestina's final stanza and the envoi.

This envoi has three lines, as do all envois in sestinas. Envois also often appear in the poetic form called balladeswhere they may have four or more lines, stanza definition in literature. Gawd bless this world!

Here's an example of a poem in which the poet uses indentation to differentiate the stanzas, rather than double line breaks. This poem is a "caudate sonnet," a variation on the sonnet that consists of an octave or two quatrains and a sestet two tercets followed by a brief concluding portion called a coda, which consists here of two tercets.

Milton uses indentation to accentuate lines that are, in a traditional sonnet, the first lines of stanzas. Here, we've color-coded the different stanzas so it's easier to see how the indentation signals stanza breaks. But we do hope to find out all your tricks, Your plots and packing, worse than those of Trent, That so stanza definition in literature Parliament May with their wholesome and preventive shears Clip your phylacteries, though baulk your ears, stanza definition in literature, And succour our just fears, When they shall read this clearly in your charge: New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large, stanza definition in literature.

Notice how the six lines of the coda are indented differently from the stanzas in the rest of the poem, signifying the coda's difference from the rest of the sonnet.

This is an example of stanzas in songs with lyrics. The excerpt below shows the first stanza of the song and the chorus.

Love is a burnin' thing And it makes a fiery ring Bound by wild desire I fell into a ring of fire I fell into a burnin' ring of fire I went down, stanza definition in literature, down, down And the flames went higher And it burns, burns, burns The ring of fire, stanza definition in literature, the ring of fire. Stanzas are used, much like paragraphs in prose, to group related ideas stanza definition in literature units. This helps the poem to feel more structured and, therefore, more digestible to the reader or listener.

The specific length, meter, and rhyme scheme of a stanza may be dictated by the poem's form, or they may be decisions that the poet makes freely according to his or her artistic vision. For example, a single-line stanza can be used to convey an image in a dramatic fashion, or an eight-line stanza can be used to convey one long, complex thought.

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Download this entire guide PDF. Stanza Definition What is a stanza? Some additional key details about stanzas: Stanzas provide poets with a way of visually grouping together the ideas in a poem, and of putting space between separate ideas or parts of a poem, stanza definition in literature. Stanzas also help break the poem down into smaller units that are easy to read and understand. Stanzas aren't always separated by line breaks.

Especially in older or longer poems, stanzas may be differentiated from one another according to where the meter or rhyme scheme change. Because stanzas are the basic unit of poetry, they are often compared to paragraphs in prose.

How to Pronounce Stanza Here's how to pronounce stanza: stan -zuh Stanzas, Meter, and Rhyme Scheme Stanzas can have any meter or rhyme schemeor none at all. Stanzas in Formal Verse In formal verse —that is, poetry with a strict meter and rhyme scheme—a stanza may contain multiple meters and different rhymes. Types of Stanzaic Form For the most part, stanzas are named according to the number of lines they contain. Couplet: A stanza made up of two lines.

The simplest and most basic unit of poetry in English is the rhyming couplet. Tercet: A stanza made up of three lines. Also called a tristich. Forms of poetry that are based on the tercet include villanelles and terza rima. Quatrain: A stanza made up of four lines. The unit of many traditional forms of poetry, such as ballads and sestinas.


Quatrain - Examples and Definition of Quatrain


stanza definition in literature


Definition, Usage and a list of Quatrain Examples in literature. A quatrain is a verse with four lines, or even a full poem containing four lines, having an independent and separate theme. Define stanza. stanza synonyms, stanza pronunciation, stanza translation, English dictionary definition of stanza. n. One of the divisions of a poem, composed of two or more lines usually characterized by a common pattern of meter, rhyme, and number of lines. References in classic literature? Stanza, a division of a poem consisting of two or more lines arranged together as a unit. More specifically, a stanza usually is a group of lines arranged together in a recurring pattern of metrical lengths and a sequence of rhymes. The structure of a stanza (also called a strophe or stave) is.