Need help submitting your writing to literary journals or book publishers/literary agents? Click here! →

The Language Of Musicality In Poetry: Vocabulary For Poets

 Because poetry tends to be an especially musical form of writing, there are a number of words that poets use to talk about their particular techniques. Here is some vocabulary to help you discuss the music of your poetry. Knowing these word definitions will help you discuss poems. Enjoy!

Repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words.

Two unaccented syllables followed by an accented one, as in un-der-STAND.

Repetition of similar vowel sounds.

A pause within a line.

A stressed syllable followed by two unstressed ones, as in SHUD-der-ing.

The selection of words in a literary work—for example, if a narrator says blood-red, that selection has different connotations than rose-red, even though the colors may be similar.

Submit to Review Board

The omission of an unstressed vowel or syllable—such as o’er for over.

Falling meter
Meters that move (or fall) from stressed syllables to unstressed syllables.

A unit of measure in a metrical line; syllables included in a kind of musical bar or measure.

Iamb (as in Iambic)
An unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one, as in at-TEMPT.

The pattern of accents in poems.

Words that imitate the sounds they describe.

A metrical foot composed of two unstressed syllables (as in for the).

Matching sounds in two or more words.


The repetition of accents or stresses.

Rising meter
Poetic meters that move (or ascend) from unstressed to stressed.

A metrical foot represented by two stressed syllables.

The way an author selects and arranges words, and develops ideas using literary techniques.

The order of words.

The writer’s attitude implicitly conveyed through diction, syntax, etc.

Accented syllable followed by an unaccented one, as in MAY-be.

If you love words, we know you love poetry vocabulary! Use these definitions when talking about your poetry.

8 Responses to The Language Of Musicality In Poetry: Vocabulary For Poets

  1. Wow never knew such platforms existed…this is really encouraging…though keep the updates flowing…

  2. Yes…I too had a list of poetry styles from high school that disappeared. Gonna print this article for future reference for sure. Poetry comes easier to me than writing a story. …SO much faster to convey a sentiment and bend words into place to paint your picture. Thank you so much for these tips! Will come in handy!

  3. Recently, I was invited to join a poetry group created by my neighbors here in my senior community building. My past experience with poetry – so far as creating original work – spans nearly 40 years – off and on. My poems were spontaneous, inspired by things that happened on the job or in my family; they just happened with no formal planning or effort to follow meter, alliteration, or any of the other poetry mechanics. I had forgotten nearly everything I had learned way-back-when in high school. I was pleasantly surprised by this article from Writer’s Relief and will certainly use it to help me re-learn the nuts and bolts of the art of writing poetry.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000+ acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
Live Chat Software