- TAGALIED (TAHG-uh-leet)
- See Aubade
- TAIL RHYME
- Also called caudate rhyme, a verse form in which rhyming lines, usually a couplet or triplet,
are followed by a tail, a line of shorter length with a different rhyme; in a tail-rhyme stanza, the tails
rhyme with each other, as in Michael Drayton's "Nymphidia"
or Sir John Suckling's "A Ballad Upon a Wedding."
- TANKA (TAHNG-kuh)
- The classic form of Japanese poetry with five unrhymed lines of five, seven,
five, seven, and seven syllables to produce a concentrated essence of a single event,
image or mood.
(See also Haiku,
- The unnecessary and excessive repetition of the same idea in different words in the
same sentence, as "the room was completely dark and had no illumination," or
"a breeze greeted the dusk and nightfall was heralded by a gentle wind."
- TELESTICH (TEL-ess-tik)
- See under Acrostic Poem
- See under Metaphor
- The artistically satisfying equilibrium of opposing forces in a poem, usually referring to the use of language and
imagery, but often applied to other elements, such as dramatic structure,
rhythmic patterns, and sometimes to the aesthetic value of the poem as a whole.
- TENSON (TEN-suhn) or TENZON
- A medieval competition in verse on the subject of love or gallantry before a tribunal between rival
troubadours; also, a subdivision
of a chanson composed by one of the competitors.
- A unit or group of three lines of verse which are rhymed together or have a
rhyme scheme that interlaces with an adjoining tercet.
sestet, or second part of a
often consists of two tercets.
Sidelight: A tercet is used as an
envoi in a sestina.
(See also Terza Rima)
- TERNARY METER
- A meter consisting of three
syllables per foot, as in dactylic or anapestic meters. They
are also referred to as triple meters.
Sidelight: Because the
cadence of ternary meters can provide an effect quite different from
that of binary meters, they are often considered for a different range of subjects, especially those of a
frolicsome or humorous nature.
(Compare Binary Meter)
- TERZA RIMA (tert-suh REE-muh)
- A verse form consisting of tercets,
usually in iambic pentameter in
English poetry, with a chain or interlocking
as: aba, bcb, cdc, etc. The pattern concludes with a separate line added at the end of the
poem (or each part) rhyming with the second line of the preceding tercet or with a rhyming couplet, as in
Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind."
Sidelight: The rhyme
sound which carries from the middle line of each tercet to the opening line of the next tercet
provides a strong sense of forward movement to the terza rima.
- TETRABRACH (TET-ruh-brak)
- See Proceleusmatic
- TETRAMETER (teh-TRAM-uh-tur)
- A line of verse consisting of four metrical feet, as in William Blake's
"Tyger! Tyger!," or Byron's
"The Bride of Abydos."
- The "feel" of a poem that comes from the interweaving of
technical elements, diction, tone, syntax, patterns of
sound and meaning, i.e., all elements apart and independent of its structure. In other words,
that which would remain if it were to be rendered in prose.
(Compare Content, Diction,
- The central idea, topic, or didactic quality of a work.
Sidelight: Although theme
is often used interchangeably with motif, it is preferable to recognize the difference between
the two terms.
(See also Burden)
(Compare Content, Diction,
- The unaccented part of a poetic foot;
also, the first part of an antithetical
figure of speech.
Sidelight: In musical terminology,
the thesis is the downbeat, the accented part of a measure; due to an early confusion which was later
recognized but never reversed, the meaning of the term is the opposite when used in reference to the
- TMESIS (tuh-MEE-sus)
- The division of a compound word into two parts, with one or more words
between, as what place soever for whatsoever.
(See also Kenning,
- The poet's or persona's attitude in style or expression toward the subject, e.g., loving,
ironic, bitter, pitying, fanciful, solemn, etc. Tone can also refer to the overall mood of the poem itself,
in the sense of a pervading atmosphere intended to influence the readers' emotional response and foster
expectations of the conclusion.
Sidelight: Another use of tone is in reference to
pitch or to the demeanor of a speaker as interpreted through inflections of the voice;
this is conveyed through the use of connotation,
figures of speech, rhythm and
other elements of poetic construction.
- TOPOS (TOH-pohs) pl. TOPOI (TOH-poy)
- From the Greek for "place" (short for "commonplace"), a literary passage or expression
which becomes a conventional theme in
subsequent literature. Although more commonly used in some literary genres than
others, the term refers to content rather than form.
Sidelight: Standardized topics such as the poet's invocation
if the Muse or of a dear departed "having gone to a better world" are
examples of topoi, as well as are many metaphors.
- See Envoi
- A medieval narrative poem or tale typically describing the downfall of a great
person; a drama, usually in verse, portraying a conflict between a strong-willed
protagonist and a superior force such as destiny, culminating in death or disaster.
(See also Lay,
(Compare Chanson de Geste,
Hamartia, Heroic Quatrain)
- TRAGIC HERO
- See under Hamartia
- TRIBRACH (TRY-brak)
- In classical poetry, a metrical foot of three short
- TRIMETER (TRY-muh-tur)
- A line of verse consisting of three metrical feet
or three dipodies.
Sidelight: Many poems
are written entirely in trimeter, as William Cowper's
"Verses Supposed to be Written by Alexander Selkirk," but
frequently poems of longer line patterns are varied by the interposition of occasional trimeter lines, such as John Keats'
"Ode to a Nightingale."
- TRIOLET (TRY-uh-lut)
- A poem or stanza of eight lines in which the first line is repeated as
the fourth and seventh lines, and the second line as the eighth, with a
rhyme scheme of ABaAabAB, , as in Adelaide Crapsey's
Sidelight: The capital letters in the
rhyme scheme indicate the repetition of identical
(Compare Rondeau, Rondel,
- TRIPLE METER
- See Ternary Meter
- TRIPLE RHYME
- A rhyme in which three final syllables of words have the same sound,
as in glorious and victorious.
Sidelight: Triple rhymes and
disyllabic rhymes are used most frequently in humorous
(See also Mosaic Rhyme)
- See Tercet
- A word of three syllables.
(See also Disyllable,
- See under Troubadour
- TROCHEE (TROH-kee), TROCHAIC (troh-KAY-ick)
- A metrical foot with a long or accented
syllable followed by a short or
unaccented syllable, as in ON-ly or TO-tal, or the opening line of Poe's
ONCE up- | ON a |
MID-night | DREAR-y, | WHILE I |
PON-dered, | WEAK and | WEAR-y,
Sidelight: In English poetry, trochaic verse in long poems
is infrequent since it can produce a monotonous effect, but this problem is avoided in short poems such as
William Blake's "The Lamb,"
and "Tyger! Tyger!"
Sidelight: In a trochaic line of verse,
the last syllable is often omitted to end the line with an
accented syllable. A line thus shortened is termed
(See also Meter, Rhythm)
- TROILUS VERSE
- See Rhyme Royal
- The intentional use of a word or expression figuratively, i.e., used in a different
sense from its original significance in order to give vividness or emphasis to an idea.
Some important types of trope are: antonomasia,
Sidelight: Strictly speaking, a trope is the
figurative use of a word or expression, while figure of speech
refers to a phrase or sentence used in a figurative sense. The two terms, however, are often
confused and used interchangeably.
(See also Imagery)
- One of a class of Occitan lyric poets and poet-musicians, often of knightly
rank, who flourished from the 11th through the 13th centuries in Southern
France and neighboring areas of Italy and Spain, and who wrote of
Sidelight: Female troubadours were
(See also Improvisatore,
(Compare Bard, Metrist,
- TROUVERE (troo-VEHR)
- One of a school of poets of northern France who flourished from
the 11th to 14th centuries and who composed mostly narrative works such
as chansons de geste and
(See also Improvisatore,
- TRUE RHYME
- See Perfect Rhyme