Although verse refers to a single poetic line, the term is increasingly used to refer to poetic form in general. A stanza is a discrete and numbered set of lines in verse. In some poems, the title is considered a line.
A line is a linguistic unit into which a poem or drama is split. The end of a poem is usually indicated by a full stop or period.
A-line (also called first line) consists of one word, followed by a punctuation mark. This is the simplest way of starting a poem. Examples: Up! ; On! ; With war!
I-line (or second line) starts with a conjunct pronoun + verb, like I love you. Examples: Myself + do; Weeping + willow.
You-line (or third line) begins with a noun or a pronoun + gerund, like You run. Examples: Books + read; Music + make.
They-line (or fourth line) contains two nouns or pronouns connected by a comma, like They fly with wings. Examples: Fireflies, they glow low down by the lake.
We-line (or fifth line) includes three pronouns: He, she, it. Its subject is determined by context. Examples: Helen is she; Tom's her son.
The usage of a line is governed by criteria that are separate from and not always congruent with grammatical structures such as sentences or single clauses in phrases. The basic unit of poetry is the stanza, which may be further divided into smaller units such as the sestet (six-line stanzas) and quintette (five-line stanzas). Within these larger units, various patterns can be seen. For example, the sonnet consists of 14 lines in two pairs of seven lines each. There are many other types of stanzas used in different genres of poetry.
Sentences are the primary organizational device for prose. In poems, however, lines often have no clear relationship to one another. Some lines provide information about the subject matter that is present in other lines or comments on it, but there are also multi-line statements that cannot be interpreted as questions or answers. A sentence is only part of a poem; the rest of the poem consists of groups of words called lines.
A poem is made up of sentences, and a poem contains a range of sentence lengths: some short, like bursts of emotion; some long, like narrative passages; some complex, with different subjects addressed at different times; some simple, with only one subject addressed at a time.
Nowadays, a line of poetry is often referred to as just that—a line. Even if a phrase is not full when the break occurs, a line can be identified as the string of words preceding the break. A couplet is a two-line stanza, a tercet is a three-line stanza, a quatrain is a four-line stanza, and so on.
A full line of poetry contains enough words to constitute a complete thought or sentence. If a poem has five lines, then each line is considered a full line.
Full lines are used in art for their formal qualities and they can be difficult to read because it is not easy to grasp the entire meaning at first glance. However, short phrases or single words can be used instead, which are called half-lines or half-sentences. These give us more clarity about what the poet is trying to say.
In traditional forms of poetry such as iambic pentameter and sonnet form, each line of the poem is composed of ten feet, with either an iambic pentameter or a sonnet scheme used within those limits. The term "full-line" therefore refers to the pattern of syllables within the line.
In free verse, any sequence of words having a completed sense is a line, and the line is said to be complete when its length is sufficient to contain the thought without interruption. A poem written in free verse may use whole sentences or even paragraphs as lines.
A line in a poetry is a row of words, akin to a row of seats in a movie theater. A stanza is a series of lines that are separated from one another, much like a paragraph in an essay. Many poems have more than one line or stanza, often beginning with a strong verb or phrase that allows for variation without changing the meaning of the poem.
Lines in poetry can be short or long, but they usually contain between three and 20 syllables. A syllable is a unit of sound that makes up a word; there are two types of syllables: heavy and light. Heavy syllables include those ending in a consonant group such as b, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, Z. Light syllables include a, e, i, o, u, Y. Sometimes two different words with the same number of letters but different syllabic counts can be used to create rhythm and emphasis when reading or singing poems out loud. For example, while "shimmer" and "flash" have three letters each, "shimmer" has one heavy syllable and two light syllables and "flash" has four heavy syllables and no light ones.
Stanza. Two or more lines of poetry that together comprise one of a poem's divisions. A poem's stanzas are generally the same length and follow the same meter and rhyme pattern. However, some poets may vary their stanza lengths or omit certain stanzas all together.
There are many different types of stanzas. Here are the three most common:
Parallel Stanzas: These have the same metered line structure as other stanzas but differ in that they don't necessarily conclude with a full stop. The first parallel stanza in "The Lady of Shalott" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson would be an example of this type: "She dwelt alone in a wide land, / And the people were wild." Although this line doesn't end in a full stop, the last word of each line is identical, so the reader assumes that it does.
Rhythmical Stanzas: These use short sentences or phrases to indicate the division of the stanza. They usually contain four lines, although six-line examples do exist. This type of stanza is commonly used in iambic pentameter poetry.