Author Topic: Names for Stanzas of Certain Lengths  (Read 68 times)

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Names for Stanzas of Certain Lengths
« on: November 01, 2018, 10:53:51 PM »
Like lines, there is no set length to a stanza or an insistence that all stanzas within a poem need be the same length. However, there are names for stanzas of certain lengths: two-line stanzas are couplets; three-lines, tercets; four-lines, quatrains.

A stanza is a group of lines within a poem; the blank line between stanzas is known as a stanza break. Like lines, there is no set length to a stanza or an insistence that all stanzas within a poem need be the same length.
 
However, there are names for stanzas of certain lengths: two-line stanzas are couplets; three-lines, tercets; four-lines, quatrains. (Rarer terms, like sixains and quatorzains, are very rarely used.)

 Whether regular or not, the visual effect and, sometimes, the aural effect is one of uniting the sense of the stanza into one group, so poets can either let their sentences fit neatly within these groups, or create flow and tension. https://www.poetryarchive.org/glossary/stanzaby enjambing across the stanza breaks.

A stanza is a group of lines that form the basic metrical unit in a poem. So, in a 12-line poem, the first four lines might be a stanza. You can identify a stanza by the number of lines it has and its rhyme scheme or pattern, such as A-B-A-B. There are many different types of stanzas. Some of the most common stanza examples include:

• Couplets - Stanzas with two lines that rhyme
 But if thou live, remember'd not to be,
 Die single, and thing image dies with thee.
 - "Sonnet III," William Shakespeare


• Tercets - Stanzas with three lines that may or may not rhyme, also known as triplets
 Oh, Galuppi, Baldassaro, this is very sad to find!
 I can hardly misconceive you; it would prove me deaf and blind;
 But although I give you credit, 'tis with such a heavy mind!
 - "A Toccata of Galuppi's," Robert Browning


• Quatrains - Stanzas with four lines that may or may not rhyme
 He gives his harness bells a shake
 To ask if there's some mistake.
 The only other sound's the sweep
 Of easy wind and downy flake.
 - "Stopping by Woods On a Snowy Evening," Robert Frost


Other types of stanzas include:

• Quintain - Stanzas with five lines that may or may not rhyme
 In the golden lightning
 Of the sunken sun,
 O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
 Thou dost float and run,
 Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
 -"Ode to a Skylark," Percy Bysshe Shelley


• Sestet - Stanzas with six lines that may or may not rhyme
 And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
 That I shall never look upon thee more,
 Never have relish in the faery power
 Of unreflecting love! - then on the shore
 Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
 Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.
 - "When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be," John Keats


• Septet - Stanzas with seven lines that may or may not rhyme
 But our love it was stronger by far than the love
 Of those who were older that we,
 Of many far wiser than we,
 And neither the angels in Heaven above,
 Nor the demons down under the sea,
 Can ever dissever my soul from soul
 Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
 -"Annabel Lee," Edgar Allan Poe


• Octave - Stanzas with eight lines that may or may not rhyme
 When I consider how my light is spent
 Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
 Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent…
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
 I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent…
- "Sonnet 16," John Milton


With the likes of Shakespeare and Milton on your mind, take a look at these Sonnet Examples to see which types of stanzas jump out at you.

Stanzas in Poetry

If you'd like to make a study of stanzas, it's easy to find a wealth of examples. You'll notice them as soon as you read the first section in a poem. Usually, they're grouped together by their rhyme pattern and/or number of lines, with a break between each stanza. Here's an example of stanzas in poetry for illustration:

(First Stanza)

I love to write

Day and night

What would my heart do

But cry, sigh, and be blue

If I could not write

(Second Stanza)

Writing feels good

And I know it should

Who could have knew

That what I do

Is write, write, write.

-"I Love to Write Poems," Unknown

The above poem has two five-lined (or quintain) stanzas, with an A-A-B-B-A rhyme scheme. This style is common in limericks, humorous poems of five lines.

Please, visit the sites for the rest of the articles:

http://examples.yourdictionary.com/stanza-examples.html