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Understanding Poetry : Lines and Stanza Forms

A line is a sentence of a poem. Where a natural sentence has punctuation, and has defined parts to convey a thought, the line of a poem doesn't have to have a subject and a predicate. The lines of poetry create stand alone lines, or simply several lines to compose a stanza, or paragraph of poetry. Lines of poetry are absolutely unique in which it is up to the poet themselves to establish meter and end with a pause where it would occur naturally. It is natural to desire to pause at the end of a line in poetry, but the reader should allow the punctuation and beat of the poem to establish the "pause" when reading through.

Example:
although time passes in
several multitudes of eras, I find myself falling
in love with you where time
has no beginning
life has no ending
and we all stand still.

In this example, there are 6 lines. These six lines are grouped together to form 1 stanza. This is a sestet, as it has 6 lines, and is free verse, with no fixed form or rhyme scheme. Stanzas are broken up with white space between (two hard enter returns on the computer) and establish a specific form or pattern if necessary as well.

Stanza Forms
The number of lines in a stanza establish what type of stanzaic unit it is, and can also refer to a fixed form.

2 Lines = Couplet
3 Lines = Tercet
4 Lines = Quatrain
5 Lines = Quintet
6 Lines = Sestet
7 Lines = Septet
8 Lines = Octave

Poetry Prompt
Write a poem on the subject of a bad memory. Use at least 3 stanzas (any amount of lines besides a couplet) and establish a rhyme scheme with your poem. End with a couplet, a final thought of how that memory is in the past.



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