Love Pain & Poetry

Basic Terminology

Basic poetic elements are found here. You can download a more complete list in the Love Pain & Poetry Store for free if you are a member. 

Iambic Pentameter

Iamb (Iambic) - weak syllable followed by strong syllable. The pattern is sometimes fairly hard to maintain, as in the third foot.]

Pentameter- Five feet

Foot-The traditional line of metered poetry contains a number of rhythmical units, which are called feet. The feet in a line are distinguished as a recurring pattern of two or three syllables ("baffle" has 2 syllables, "montana" has 3 syllables). The pattern, or foot, is designated according to the number of syllables within, and the relationship in each foot between the strong and weak syllables. Video instruction will be added later.

Poetic Foot

one foot=monometer
two feet=dimeter
three feet=trimeter
four feet=tetrameter
five feet=pentameter
six feet=hexameter /when in iambic rhythm, it is an alexandrine


 Stanzas are a series of lines grouped together and separated by an empty line from other stanzas. They are the equivalent of a paragraph in an essay. One way to identify a stanza is to count the number of lines. Thus:

  • couplet 2 lines
  • tercet 3 lines
  • quatrain 4 lines
  • cinquain 5 lines
  • sestet 6 lines sometimes it's called a sexain
  • septet 7 lines
  • octave 8 lines