Sol Magazine
Featured Glossary articles
updated 8/27/2004

(This page contains the latest Glossary article as well as those from past issues of Sol.  The latest article will always be at the top.)

  • First Person: Personal vs. Invented (Aug2004)
  • Lines Break with End-Stops and Enjambment (July 2004)
  • Lyrics and Poetry (Mar 2004)
  • Piece (Feb 2004)
  • The Sapphic Stanza (Jan 2004)
  • About the Carol  (Nov 2003)
  • Compelling: Blank Verse (Oct 2003)
  • Rhythm—Measured Motion (Sept 2003)
  • Lune, the Western Version of Haiku (July 2003)
  • From Laurel to Laureate  (May 2003)
  • Bridging Title (Apr 2003)
  • Blended Words (Jan 2003)
  • Personification (Dec 2002)
  • Approximate Rhyme (Nov 2002)
  • Allusion (Oct 2002)
  • Found Poem (Sep 2002)
  • Indentation (Aug 2002)
  • Description without Excessive Embellishment (July 2002)
  • Common Talk  (Apr 2002)
  • When 'Perfect' is 'Full" it's Rhyme (Mar 2002)
  • Re-Shaping the Poem (Jan. 2002)
  • Aubade (November 2001)
  • Refrain: Poetic repetition (October 2001)
  • Onomatopoeia (August 2001)
  • The French Sonnet (June 2001)
  • Denotation vs Connotation (May 2001)
  • Samisen (April 2001)
  • Strophic Turning (Feb. 2001)
  • Hypercorrection (Nov. 2000)
  • Synesthesia (Oct. 2000)
  • More Than the Arrangement of Three Lines (Sept. 2000)
  • Poet (Aug. 2000)
  • Stanza (May 2000)
  • Tone (Apr. 2000)
  • Pantoum (Mar 2000)
  • Internal Rhyme (Feb. 2000)
  • Sestina (Nov. 1999)
  • Imagery (Sept/Oct 1999)
  • Assonance (Aug. 1999)
  • Figures of Speech (May 1999)


    August 2004 
    "First Person:  Personal vs. Invented," 
    by Mary Burlingame, Features Editor

    There are two types of first person speakers:  the personal "I" speaker and the invented "I" speaker.  Either approach helps to set the tone of your work.  

    Many poets use the personal "I" voice.  This voice does not make clear who the speaker of the poem is, the poet or someone else, so a writer might use this in order to obscure the identity of the speaker and create an intimate and direct voice.

    Another approach to first person is the invented "I" speaker, where it is obvious that the speaker is a definite character, often fictional or historical.  With this voice, it seems as if the reader is overhearing someone's conversation or the thoughts inside the speaker's head. A writer might use this voice instead of third person to give a character power to speak with her own voice.  

    Personal or invented, the choice is yours.    

    July 2004
    Lines Break with End-Stops and Enjambment
    by Mary Burlingame, Features Editor
    Line Breaks

    Line breaks help separate poetry from prose.  They do not just occur where lines end, but also where words are broken into segments of thought instead of stretching across the page like prose.  End-stopping and enjambment help create a series of winding steps to reach a poem's conclusion. 

    End-stopped lines:  When each line contains a complete thought creating a natural pause between each line, the effect is called "end-stopped" lines.  Used effectively, end-stopped lines can replace punctuation.  Example:

    Chase me away from my fire
    put it out with my drinking water
    keep me in the trees all night

    Mary Burlingame, Houston, TX, USA

    Enjambment:   When a thought continues from line to line with no pause at the line break, the effect is called "enjambment."  This tool creates tension as the reader is pulled forward to the next line.  Example: 

    I knew you had been there for too long - your
    eyes and all their color had been washed away 

    Mary Burlingame, Houston, TX, USA

    Unlike punctuation, line breaks have no defined rules, but it is better to end a line on a meaningful word rather than on an article, preposition or other connective word. 

    Experiment with line breaks.  They can change the meaning and the flow of your poetry.

    March 2004
     Lyrics and Poetry
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    In earliest times, poetry was sung.  We still call the words of songs lyrics, and although lyrical poets have increasingly written poems that are not intended to be accompanied by music, poetry still includes many forms similar to songs, from ballads to sonnets, and elegies to odes.

    The term lyric can refer both to the nature of the language used, and to the emotions expressed in a work, so both the narrative and dramatic aspects of a poem may be lyrical.  This musical element conveys emotion through a regularity of cadence and interworking sound.  More than the melody of verse, the art of lyrical poetry reveals the secret of and the passion for some personal emotion.

    Sung or not, a lyric is music.


    February 2004
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    A "piece" may be defined as a patch or segment that renews or completes a larger work.  In music, this may be called a "coda," or a "movement."  In literature or poetry, this may be called a "part," such as Section One, or Part Two, etc. 

    "Piece" may also be defined as a separate and self-contained entity.  For instance, a musician may patch single ideas and images into a musical arrangement or a song, while a writer may splice ideas and images into words for a literary composition or a poem. 

    January 2004
    The Sapphic Stanza
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    Named after the ancient Greek poet, Sappho, who invented it, the Sapphic stanza is a form of quantitative verse that depends on the measurement of long or short syllables. Though she used several metrical patterns for her poetry, Sappho is most famous for the Sapphic stanza (derived from her name). Sapphic stanzas consist of four lines, the first three composed with a meter of eleven syllables each, and the fourth line, five syllables.  In simplest terms, this sounds out in this way: 

    DA da DA da DA da da DA da DA da 
    DA da DA da DA da da DA da DA da 
    DA da DA da DA da da DA da DA da 
    DA da da DA da 


    Strange and difficult she is often chosen
    Still as mastermind for the target program
    Smart and coy, she rises above the other
    Crazy officials

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

    A remarkable rhythm, several contemporary poets have used the form.  As with other poetic forms, it is not uncommon to find poets taking liberties with the syllable count and meter, but if asked to use this form in a Sol Magazine competition, please stay within the basic form and save experimentation for another time. 

    November 2003 
    About the Carol
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    CAROL:  A poem often sung by a group.  Like the Ballad, the Carol is a song that tells a story and has its origins in folk music.  During the 1400's, lighter joyous songs, later known as Carols, were introduced in Renaissance Italy.   The first known English Carol, by Ritson, appeared about 1410.  Open-air religious drama in Europe inspired the writing of Carols to be sung during performances of mystery plays, and the English Carol became popularized.  Throughout the sixteenth century, England enjoyed tunes associated with ballad singing and country dancing, and had an important impact on the creation of the Christmas Carol as we know it today. 


    October 2003 
    Compelling:  Blank Verse
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor

    BLANK VERSE:  Unrhymed poetry, usually with a meter of iambic pentameter.

    IAMBIC PENTAMETER:  Iambic pentameter is 10 syllables, five of which are stressed, forming a beat sounding like: Ta DA, Ta DA, Ta DA, Ta DA, Ta DA.  This form does not specify a line count.


    One Keeps

    With sorrow she must leave tomorrow, sharp
    The sound she loves of ocean at the shore
    But with her she will keep that roaring sound
    Inside collected seashells from the beach.

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

    Shakespeare wrote his plays in Blank Verse in order to solve the dilemma of finding “fresh” rhyme schemes.  The five-beat meter is a powerful one; after Shakespeare, many of the greatest poets such as Milton, Keats, Auden, Tennyson, and Frost used this and the verse form for the larger proportion of their work.  The rhythmic effect is compelling.

    © 2003 Sol Magazine

    September 2003 
    Rhythm—Measured Motion
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    Rhythm, the recurring motion of sound in speech, refers to the rise and fall of syllabic stress.  Poetry is measured in beats, as words or parts of words form a pattern of rhythm. This effect adds interest to any poem and may be used to both prevent monotony and to also reinforce meaning. 

    Arranging a pattern of alternating lengths of measure at fixed intervals of time creates a rhythmical pattern.  Meter, the kind of rhythm we are tempted to tap to, is arranged so that accents appear at equal intervals.  A foot of poetry is somewhat equivalent to a measure of music.  The process of measuring feet of poetry is called scansion.  While not all poetry is metrical, rhythm is a necessary element in the composition of poetry. 

    Common Units of Measure or Feet

    Iamb:  Two syllables, the second accented. 
    Example:  Today. (Iambic - Double Meter)

    Trochee:  Two syllables, the first accented. 
    Example:  Pastry. (Trochaic - Double Meter)

    Anapest:  Three syllables, the third stressed. 
    Example:  Pantaloon. (Anapestic - Triple Meter) 

    Dactyl:  One stressed syllable followed by two unstressed.  Example:  Fantasy. (Dactylic - Triple Meter) 

    Spondee:  Two consecutive syllables, both stressed.
    Example:  Big horns.   (Spondaic - Triple Meter)


    The Intimate Art of Writing Poetry, Ottone M. Riccio, Prentice Hall Press, NY, © 1980.

    The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, NY, NY, © 1987.

    © 2003 Sol Magazine 

    July 2003 
    Lune, the Western Version of Haiku
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor

    Poet Robert Kelly created the Lune in the 1960's, and named this form after the French word for moon because its results reminded him of a crescent moon.  The Lune is similar to Haiku in that it must have three lines, a syllable count of 5, 3, 5, and must focus on one subject, however Kelly's Lune has no other rules. 


    Monday Morning

    streaming the office
    sun patterns
    light up my desktop

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

    Another poet, Jack Collom, presented the Lune to American schoolchildren, but because of a faulty memory, his version required counting words, rather than syllables.  Collom's Lune asked for 3 lines, a word count of 5, 3, 5, and focus on one subject. 



    headphones cupped over their ears
    together they sit
    while nobody says a word

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL, USA 

    Whichever version of the Lune you choose to practice with, note that Sol Contests require the original version created by Robert Kelly. 


    May 2003 
    From Laurel to Laureate
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    In Ancient Greece, where the laurel tree was considred sacred, poets who won distinction were crowned with a wreath of laurel, hence the origin of the title, "Poet Laureate."  The custom remains today and is practiced world wide.

    Joyce Jenkins, a California assemblywoman, is quoted in MetroActiveArts as saying she believes, "The poet laureate's job should be to enliven the art of poetry--how the art itself can help people and teach people and inspire people."

    Honored for artistic achievement, a Poet Laureate serves as representative of the body that bestowed the honor, and is often expected to provide poems for occasions of importance.


    April 2003 
    A Bridging Title Can Add Finish at the Beginning
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    In classical times, poems were often known by their first lines or by the author and general subject.  Around the time of Shakespeare, titling a poem as a separate element became popular.  Some modern poets complete a poem without adding a title, but the canny poet uses a title to lure the reader into the poem, for titling is virtually essential in the competitive contemporary marketplace.

    A title may define the work, or tantalize by letting slip an alluring clue.  It can be used as a play on words, or simply summarize a poem to let the reader know what to expect.

    While succinct titles generally work well, sometimes using the title as the poem's opening line can make for an interesting beginning.  This type of form, called a Bridging Title by Sol Magazine's staff, can provide real finish even at the very start of the work.  In a Bridging Title poem, the title is read as the first line of the poem it introduces, and the actual first line does not repeat the title.

    Why not take advantage of this excellent form?  Try the Bridging Title for your next poem.  (See BRIDGING TITLE.)


    January 2003 
    Blended Words
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    PORTMANTEAU:  1.  A case or bag to carry clothing in while traveling, esp. a leather trunk or suitcase that opens into two halves.  2.  Portmanteau word:  A blend of two or more words.  (Reference: Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary.)

    Just as suitcases have two sides, Portmanteaus combine two or more words to make one.  In these humorous examples, "snuggle plus "hug" may become "snughuggle;" "wiggle" plus "giggle" could become "wigliggle;" an un-housetrained puppy might be called a "poundpuddlepup." 

    Some Portmanteau words are metaphors of a sort, while most create new meanings, similar to what happened when "motor" and "hotel" were first combined into "motel," and "lunch" and "breakfast" became "brunch.

    Here's an example ("mountain" & "climber" = "mountlimber") used in a poem:

    Janice is quite mountlimber and
    often strolls up a steep cliff's face 
    to view her hilly timberlands

    Sometimes the most economical way to convey two meanings in a brief passage of poetry is to make use of the Portmanteau. 

    December 2002
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor


    A figure of speech, personification can be an abstract quality or thing that is treated as if it were human, and it can also be a person regarded as the embodiment of a quality.

    We often attribute human traits and feelings to natural or inanimate objects.  For example:  "Peeking out from a somber cloud, an early sun smiles down at the sleepy town."

    Equally common is the practice of attributing the qualities of an abstract principle to a person.  For example, "Generosity itself, she insisted on making us comfortable in her own tiny rooms." 

    Personification has existed since the beginning of art.  Some artists created imaginary situations where animals, birds, trees, and stones "spoke."  Many poets throughout history have used the human/nonhuman comparison, especially in surreal poetry.  For example:  "A jukebox swallows our tongues, and raises to stand as a flashing light and a mega boom boom."

    More complex personification may be found in legends and myths representing moral concepts, attitudes and forces of nature.  Used skillfully, personification is a poetical device that can produce startling effects of comparison, offering fresh reactions from a reader.


    November 2002
    Approximate Rhyme
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    Approximate rhyme is entirely a matter of sound, and includes alliteration, assonance, consonance, or any combination of these poetic tools that depend on sound similarity.  It is sometimes substituted for perfect rhyme at the ends of lines. 

    Example:  hurt/heart

    Approximate rhyme includes half-rhyme, also known as feminine rhyme, where only half of the word rhymes.  With half-rhyme, the reader may feel the effect without necessarily being aware of the device used.

    Examples: brightly/nightlife

    Many other combined sound similarities employed at the end of lines can add organization and structure to the poem.

    Example:  rite/die

    Like many other tools of poetry, approximate rhyme can not only provide pleasure to the ear, its use may also add dimension to meaning. 

    October 2002
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
     When a poet makes a brief reference to an event or a person or a place, it is called an Allusion.  Usually a well-known and easily recognizable reference, the poet assumes readers will recognize the Allusion, thus it is a device that encourages quick understanding and enrichment of the mind.



    Local artists focus 
    on American history-- 
    landscapes and seascapes, quaint
    as Old Mystic by the sea. 
    And clearly I connect 
    with oil on canvas-- expressing light
    like paintings of Carlton T. Chapman 
    and others at Boston's 
    Childs Gallery.

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

    September 2002
    "The Found Poem"
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    A Found Poem is a piece not intended to be a poem, but discovered in a newspaper article or magazine, or from bits of conversation, or even from the contents of a note, then announced as such by its finder. 

    Though not "created" by the poet per se, the Found Poem does require skills for the craft.  The finder must be sensitive to exceptional material that will evoke a response.  Essentially, the finder may not change, add to, or omit words, but may choose its arrangement of line breaks and punctuation.

    Example One (quoting conversation)


    I see
    from the window 
    my cat
    heading up toward
    the kitchen door.

    Guess I'd better go 

    Example Two (quoting a newspaper article)

    Through the Mist

    Misted Windows
    Firefighters Spray 

    Water        To Symbolize 

    The Collapse         of the World

    Trade Center.

    Example Three (quoting combined headline and article)

    For Basketball

    girls travel
    team forms 
    basketball is more
    than a game.

    It's a passion
    the family of four
    regularly attends.


    August 2002
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    An indentation is a device used to organize a specific pattern of blank space in from the edge of the margin, as in typical paragraph usage.  Patterns can help keep a poem organized. 

    In the past, poetry indentation was often used as a method to emphasize the first line of each stanza, to change a mood, to set off particular sounds or rhyme change, to inset quotations, or to prevent short lines of a poem from dangling. 

    Example #1- indenting the first line of each stanza:

         After the unthinkable "Attack On America" 
    we face the long, difficult cleanup, eyes fixed 
    on our land and our skies, on the innocent 
    as our country rings with sounds of sudden unity.

         A stream of red, white and blue flags flutter 
    across our streets and doorways, all across America 
    sharing the hope, the dreams, the glory of all colors 
    races, religions, economic statues and lifestyles 
    as our country rings with sounds of sudden unity.

    Example #2- indenting lines of similar rhyme:

    May he have sons of his own, loving and living
       So like his own level of wanting to claim
    Pride in his work toward a great thing.
       A man's heart arises as an arrow follows his aim.

    Example #3-- indenting short lines in the central body of a poem:

    Sounds from the nearby woodland
    Remind me of spring frequencies
    Enamored with a sense
    Of resplendent

    Traditionally, sonnets were set up with a pattern of indentation to show similar rhyme sounds, and particularly in the concluding couplet.  Though indentation has been mostly eliminated by modern poets, its usage is still relied upon by some poets to help create structure. 


    July 2002
    Description without Excessive Embellishment
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    An adjective is a type of modifier used to qualify, define, or limit nouns or pronouns and make them more definite.  For example, a car becomes more vivid as we describe its color, its manufacturer, the model, etc.  Also, an adjective may not always be placed next to the word it modifies.  See "smaller" in the following narrative:

     "As she meandered through the used car lot, it was the smaller one that caught her eye, the classy chartreuse Ford Mustang." 

    Adjectives can create detail, but we may depend too much upon them, especially when filling in the missing beat in a line of poetry.  This type of "filling in" is called "padding the line." 

    Sometimes we may use modifiers unnecessarily:

     "The Mustang's color was chartreuse green."

    Here, since "chartreuse" is already distinctive color, "green" is not needed. 

    In poetry, the need for precise descriptors is imperative, so while it is important to be specific, avoid excessive embellishment.  Choose functional words.  After the first draft, ask if the lines convey the meaning clearly, without the use of any modifier.  If the answer is yes, then the modifier may be redundant. 

    Just for fun, why not write a short poem using no adjectives?


    Connecting Time and Space

    Do dreams exist?
    I think, yes 
    reflecting accuracies of life
    and even inaccuracies
    like balloons
    dancing across moonlight.

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

    April 2002 
    Common Talk
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    When we use everyday speech in our poetry, we infuse our words with everyday life, permitting a sharper understanding of the way it is lived.  And the poem will suffer no loss, for direct, clear, ordinary language can more strongly sustain (as highly poetic languae cannot) an attitude of wonder at the universal.


    Breath of Life

    Eager in its first yawn
    every morning it dispels the darkness
    earth's star; star of day
    flooding the earth with light...
    And all of me depends on this
    image of the daisy field
    stretching upward into sky
    heavenly bodies flooded with shine
    daisy-bud eyes of yellow
    yellow and round like the sun.

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL, USA

    In the example poem, structural and emotional tensions build into a powerful presence, and what has been seen or heard remains in the mind.  Flowery language would detract from the message.


    March 2002
    "When 'Perfect' is 'Full' it's Rhyme," 
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    Rhyming is a brain activity that often induces poetical imagination.  In serious verse, rhyme pattern is a potent shaper, but poets' choices are limited by the limitations of language.

    FULL RHYME, also called "perfect rhyme," "pure rhyme," "true rhyme" or "complete rhyme," is the type with which we're most familiar in English poetry.  An authentically rhymed poem deals exclusively with sounds, and has nothing to do with spelling or word form.

    For example, "pox/clocks" forms a perfect FULL RHYME.  "Finger/ginger" does not adhere to the required criteria.  Another form of FULL RHYME occurs when two or more words, such as "satin/flat in" are placed in close proximity.

    Couplings like this are more appropriate to light and humorous verse than to serious poetry. FULL RHYME does not permit a pairing of words like "sing/thinking."  In "thinking," stress is place on the first syllable, whereas the unstressed second syllable rhymes with "sing."

    Words that satisfy the eye but not the ear, like, "love/prove," are referred to as "eye rhyme," or "near rhyme."

    A few words in the English language are thought to have no perfect rhyme. Among them are:  "month," "orange," "elephant," and "radio."  These are best used in the body of the poem and not at the end of a line.

    For more on rhyme you might also take a look at a good rhyming dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster's "Rhymes for the Times, Rhyming Dictionary," by Merriam-Webster Incorporated, Springfield, MA.

    For online help with rhyme, please check out
    formerly known as "The Semantic Rhyming Dictionary."

    January 2002
    "Re-Shaping the Poem," 
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Poetry Editor
    The basic components that shape a poem are the same as those that shape a paragraph.  Word-order and line-order make up the framework.  Each part must connect properly so the reader does not get lost.  As a consequence, one of the most important questions to be asked after writing the first draft should be, "Does this poem really say what I want it to say?"

    While the practice of reading aloud can uncover a variety of problems, beware.  Over-familiarity with a subject may keep us from hearing our own faulty connections.

    Consider the following:

    Example #1

    Reflecting the lopsided harvest moon,
    Filled with one hundred thousand mysteries,
    Disturbingly, hauntingly grandiose--
    Dark, jade thistles glisten--
    Their nodding and bending
    Like lords in the starlit night.

    Too much description in front of a subject may suggest a different role from the one intended.  Example #2 makes that thought clear by bringing the action (nodding and bending of thistles) closer to the verb (reflecting) that describes the action.
    Example #2

    Filled with one hundred thousand mysteries,
    Dark jade thistles glisten--their nodding and bending, 
    Disturbingly, hauntingly grandiose,
    Reflecting the lopsided harvest moon,
    Like lords in the starlit night.

    To make it as easy as possible for others to understand our poems as we do, we must pay special attention to the placement of lines and words.  Some may need to be adjusted or re-positioned to avoid confusion and to correct faulty connectors.
    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL 


    November 2001
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor
    AUBADE:   From the French, meaning dawn an AUBADE may be a pensive composition for the piano, a poem greeting dawn, a morning love song, or a song or poem of lovers parting at dawn.


    Dawn's Early Rise

    Reflecting from huge pine needle puddles
    the unnaturally pigmented sky peeks in 
    and out of view here and there 
    promising a pleasant morning to us, like 
    an endless echo--like a tropical bird sound 
    asking for nothing at all.

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL


    October 2001 
    Refrain: Poetic repetition
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor
    In poetry, repetition serves several purposes: to please the ear, to emphasize the words in which the repetition occurs, and to add structure to a poem.  In addition to repeating individual sounds and syllables, poets often repeat words, phrases, lines, or groups of lines.  When such repetition is done according to some fixed pattern, it is called a "refrain." 



    After the unthinkable Attack On America 
    We face the long, difficult cleanup, eyes fixed 
    On our land and our skies, on the innocent, 
    As our country rings with sounds of sudden unity. 

    A stream of red, white and blue flags flutter 
    Across our streets and doorways, all across America, 
    Sharing the hope, the dreams, the glory of all 
    Colors, races, religions, economic statuses and lifestyles, as 
    Our country rings with sounds of sudden unity. 

    And on this day of mourning, we speak of love 
    --of wishes for the futures of all children; 
    In the awful aftermath of smoke and silence, 
    Our country rings with sounds of sudden unity. 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL

    August 2001 

    In the craft of poetry, the poet's sensitivity may be finely attuned to sound.  Certain effects are enhanced as language mimics the meaning or action that its words convey.  Words such as buzz, plunk, boom, and snap suggest this effect by vocal imitation or association. These words carry with them a harmonic resemblance, so we immediately perceive a connection, as meaning appeals to the imagination.  This imitative harmony is ONOMATOPOEIA. 


    Clearly visible 
    and with whiz-bang zing 
    the blue fish swims 
    in a huge bowl of soup.

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL 

    June 2001 
    Variations on a Form:  The French Sonnet
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    Glossary -- 
    Traced back to the 14th century, there are many variants of the major Petrarchan and Shakespearean Sonnet patterns.  In 1999 Robert DeWitt, who was president of Louisiana State Poetry Society, developed this form.   The French Sonnet has a 14-line fixed form, written in iambic tetrameter, and is expressed in stanzas as outlined below: 

    French Sonnet 

    lines 1/2 (couplet) introduce the subject, rhymed AA 
    lines 3/4/5 (tercet) develop the subject, rhymed BAB 
    lines 6/7/8/9 (quatrain) show a new aspect of the subject, rhymed CDCD 
    lines 10/11/12 (tercet) resolve the subject, rhymed EFE 
    lines 13/14 (couplet) may compliment, beautify, polish, rhymed GG 


    Morning Light 

    1-It's not about how far and long 
    2-That time stands caught where you are gone 

    3-While I work layers of white on white 
    4-Canvases on which are drawn 
    5-From some past stretch of morning light. 

    6-Without a word, your wind may turn 
    7-My mood around, or was it mine 
    8-Who found you there--Ah, God! to learn 
    9-Who keeps her noise names ever, kind. 

    10-Oh! Love that longs for smiling eyes 
    11-That hope were not devoured by clouds 
    12-That one day will surrender skies 

    13-paint with rainbows, time apart 
    14-Then stretch our morning, heart to heart. 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL 

    For more information about SONNETS, see FORMS .

    May 2001 
    Denotation vs Connotation 
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    Denotation is a symbol for a word's direct meaning or set of meanings or expression, as distinguished from ideas or meanings associated with it or suggested by it, where one thing represents something else.  We  generally establish a word's denotation without any emotional association.   Example: "Wind" DENOTES air in natural motion. 

    Connotation signifies or suggests, in addtion to a word's explicit meaning.  When we choose the right word with all its associative implications  (those that suggest feelings, attitudes, opinions and desires) then we add emotional input.  Example:  "Fireplace" often CONNOTES hospitality, warmth, or comfort. 

    Mark Twain says, the difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.  To project your unique point of view, choose particular words that work the hardest with the most meaning, trying for the most accurate word possible.  Consult a dictionary if you have any doubt. 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL 

    April 2001 
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    This form was found in Margarette Ball Dickson's "Added Patterns for Poems," Minneapolis, Argus Publishers, (C) 1954.  The Samisen was named after a Japanese banjo with three strings.  The form, created by Caroline Henning Bair of Strasburg, Ohio, began as a song lyric.  It is limited to three stanzas.  The words should be light and delicate as the melody of the  instrument.  The books suggests that writers to this form highlight outdoor beauty, elfin, supernatural, eerie, delicate fancies, or gypsy themes.  Dickson states that the rhythm seems tricky but is alluring. 

    This is not an Oriental form, nor one that imitates one, for it uses iambs and anapests. 

    Iam:  A foot of two syllables, the first short or unstressed, the second long or stressed.

    Anapest:  A foot of three syllables, the first two short or unstressed, the last long or stressed. 

    Foot:  The abstract pattern that happens when rhythms is formally organized is called meter.  It imposes a regular recurrence of stresses or syllables that is intended to parcel a line into equal divisions of time.  Each of the temporal periods into which the line is divided is called a foot. 


    In the Dusk
         By Margarette Ball Dickson

    Comes the trilling of the cricket     In the dusk,
                                          In the dusk
         And the strum of the cicada,     In the dusk;
         While the bull frog plays the bass-viol
         And the tree-frog wails for rain
         And the mourning dove in tree-tops
    Seems to sorrow and complain,         In the dusk.

    Do the white feet of the fairies      In the dusk
                                          In the dusk,
    tap, tap, tap upon the mosses,        In the dusk?
         Are there elves among the lilies,
         Are there leprechauns in roots?
         Are there trolls on banks and bridges,
    Dwarves in tiny pointed boots,        In the dusk?

    Do the green gold humming birds have, In the dusk,
                                         In the dusk
         Tiny routines only half-glimpsed In the dusk
         Riding in their jeweled saddles
         As they flit from bloom to bloom
         As the moon in crescent pattern
    Shades its blue light in the gloom... In the dusk.

    Note iambs and anapests, the echo (repeat lines) and rhymed lines, 5 and 7, in each stanza.  When read aloud, it has a marked rhythm. 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    February 2001 
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor
    STROPHE:  From the Greek word for turning  (as verse comes from the Latin word for turning.)

    As traditional poetry moved away from stanzaic patterns such as the quatrain, the tercet, the ballad, etc., modern trends looked for other elements of structure.  Ignoring the logical or rhetorical divisions arrived at by line count, Strophe is often used for dramatic pause.  In poetry that will be seen more than it is heard, it may be used for its visual affect.  Strophe is used also for self expression, as the poet may be moved to break a line and start a new unit to convey emotion, or to generate tension, or to bring attention to or turn the mind.



    In the midst of darkness


    in a world of indifferent places.
    And yet on the morning that is

    just beginning
                           I come
    to recognize
                        even the littlest things

    more lovely
                       as it comes
                       to bathe the empty room
    the eyes
                   the heart
                                   the mind

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL

    November 2000 
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor
    HYPERCORRECTION (pronounced hi-per-kuh-REHK-shun) .

    From "Merriam-Webster":  Noun.  A mistaken word or form (such as "widely" used for "wide" in "open widely") used especially to avoid what one believes to be grammatical error but is not.  Linguists and grammarians use the term "hypercorrection" for instances in which a new error is made in an attempt to avoid a common grammatical mistake.

    In this sentence, "Whom should I say is calling," the correct pronoun is "who," while "whom" is a hypercorrection.

    The writer of this sentence, "He gave it to you and I," is also guilty of hypercorrection.  The correct pronoun is "me."

    The mistake made by people who universally avoid "you and me" in favor of "you and I" is a typical example.  "You and me" is considered incorrect when it appears as the subject of a sentence ("You and me own the car"), but "me," and not "I," is the right choice when the pronoun is an object, regardless of whether it appears by itself ("Throw it to me") or as part of a pair ("Call me and Marie.")

    Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    October 2000
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor
    From the Greek, syn = together, and esthesia/aesthesia = perception, feeling, sensibility.

    SYNESTHESIA describes something by stimulating one sensation or image (such as color) and combining it with another that normally describes a different sensation (such as sound). 

    To make language understandable, people often use metaphorical expressions or pictorial images to get ideas across. Neither metaphoric nor pictorial, SYNESTHESIA describes with multi-sensory joinings, where a certain association perceived by one sense, either assumed or specified, is related to one or more differing associations. Common examples include such phrases as: a sour smell, their combined experience is totally green, the quilt was made from loud colors and bold plaids, the photograph represents a sweet memory, etc. 

    For practice, write several 5 line poems using 2 or more differentiated senses. 


    At the Dark Sound of Night 

    In his eyes, a twisted bitter shade 
    gripped the edge of my sweet apple dip 
    forcing me to run hot against the purple wind 
    far and safe from the steady moan of half-light 
    hovering Allhallows' eve. 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, Fl.

    September 2000
    More Than the Arrangement of Three Lines
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor 
    (Example poems penned by Betty Ann Whitney.)
    Haiku is a never-titled poem on the theme of nature.  Its form is three lines, with a general syllable count of five, seven, five.  In the classical form, poets do not clutter these lines with prepositions, connectives, or personal pronouns.  Metaphors are merely suggested.  The aim of the Haiku is to express delicate insight through a central image presented in the first two lines, with the last line revealing its meaning. 

    Example of a Haiku: 

    ablaze with splendor 
    red maple's foliage is 
    strewn across the path 

    The Tercet is three lines of verse that form a group.  The term is used synonymously with Triplet, but often distinguished from it as applying to three lines that do not have the same rhyme. 

    Example of a Tercet: 

    Subliminal Message 

    Where the watch synchronizes every thing 
    setting life to a metronomic rhythm 
    freedom is lost to the pendulum's swing. 

    A Triplet uses the same rhyme throughout. 

    Example of a Triplet:

    Portrait of the Mind's Eye 

    Of his own nimbus moon drawn against night 
    the artist works layer upon layer of white 
    Into blackened canvas, blending circles of light. 

    The Terza Rima, also a traditional form of poetry, is a series of Tercets with interlinking rhymes which give a strong effect of continuity with a pattern of aba, bcb, cdc, etc.  An extra line is sometimes used to close the poem. 

    Example of a Terza Rima: 

    At Various Times--In Various Ways 

    In the quantity of things unmentionable 
    perhaps it is for you, as it is for me 
    in the less than vivid actual 

    where builds suspense and mystery 
    beyond commas and words and sentences 
    combining personal flair and creativity 

    to punctuate the mind's activity. 

    Though the Terza Rima is often used as a three line poem, Dante created it as a three line stanza for his long poem, "The Divine Comedy." 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    August 2000
    By Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor
    The word "poet" comes from the Greek and means maker.  In the making of poetry, a good deal of ink has been used to illuminate philosophies of life, geographical images, customs, social classes, unsorted feelings and devotions of the heart.  But unless the writer connects in some way to the topic at hand, or is acquainted with the experiences involved, the poem may fail. 

    Poetry is concentrated, multidimensional language.  Its purpose is not to tell about, but to participate in an experience, so that the reader comes away from a poem with deeper awareness.  Its purpose may be to reveal certain characteristics, or vivid impressions of a person, place or thing -- or attitudes, not necessarily those of the poet's, but those belonging to the poem.

    More than understanding, poetry involves the senses, emotions, and imagination.  It conveys these extra dimensions through organization and the elements of writing good poetry, such as connotation, metaphor, pattern, imagery, rhythm, tone, mood, etc.  These elements provide essential support to the total balance of the poem.  But the most important contribution the POET makes is a unique, personal sensitivity to the topic at hand, revealing the life within it. 

    More information about poetry may be found in many sources, including "Literature, Structure, Sound, and Sense," by Laurence Perrine and Thomas R. Arp. 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    May 2000 
    Organizing in Stanzas
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    STANZA:  A separated group of lines used to complete a form or idea. 

    The stanza is an organizing tool used in poetry as the paragraph is used in prose.  Some traditional forms of poetry require an established group of lines related in idea and metrics, forming a pattern throughout the poem.  Stanza patterns are many, such as the couplet, tercet, quatrain, ballad, sonnet, etc. 

    In free verse, while divisions are often referred to as stanzas, the groupsings are more properly called "verse paragraphs."  These may be of any length and design the poet chooses.

    April 2000 
    Establishing Tone
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    Glossary -- TONE 

    In one word, TONE may be defined as attitude.  If, for instance, a friend says, "The cardinal's returned," the facts are clear, but the emotional meaning may vary.   Our friend's attitude will be discovered in the voice, whether it be an excitement of pleasure or a tone of disturbance.  Poetry differs from the spoken language in that we do not have the speaker's voice to guide us at the time we read the poem.  The poet's tone calls for more involvement than does spoken language. Tenderness, sadness, toughness, anger, wit or humor may move across a poem through images, language, sentence structure, metaphors, rhythm, music, punctuation, line length and other characteristics.  All of the elements of poetry work together to form the tone of a poem. 


    Ninety-four Days or More 

    For ninety-four days or more 
    Where do you take your wing each spring 
    Leaving your ritual behind...where again 
    Bright feathers will spread 
    Dropping down to the mirror your red crested head. 
    Season and season you flit about 
    Your robe at our door, chanting your Psalms 
    With a voice, a voice, like the chorus of flutes. 
    From your homeage, little cardinal, who begs you off? 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, Fl.

    March 2000 
    "Remembering with a Pantoum" 
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor 

    PANTOUM:  Usually grouped with French forms, the Pantoum (pronounced "pan-TOOM") is the Western version of the Malaysian form, "pantun." First appearing in Malayan literature during the fifteenth century, it had gained popularity earlier, recited orally, by memory.  Commonly light in tone and treatment, the Pantoum repeats lines.  Lines 2 and 4 of the first stanza become lines 1 and 3 of the next stanza, etc, following this pattern throughout the poem. 


    ________________ (line 1) 
    ________________ (line 2) 
    ________________ (line 3) 
    ________________ (line 4) 
    ________________ (line 5 - repeat line 2) 
    ________________ (line 6) 
    ________________ (line 7 - repeat line 4) 
    ________________ (line 8) 
    ________________ (line 9 - repeat line 6) 
    ________________ (line 10) 
    ________________ (line 11 - repeat line 8) 
    ________________ (line 12 - if last line in the poem, repeat line 1) 

    Notice each line of the poem is used twice, adding an element of surprise as it reappears. The Pantoum can be of any length the poet chooses. At the end of the poem, the last line becomes line one. 


    Beyond Anticipation 

    Two doves landed a pool of light        (line 1) 
    just as I looked beyond the trees       (line 2) 
    that delightful, radiant, woodsy day    (line 3) 
    anticipating a busy schedule.           (line 4) 
    Just as I looked beyond the trees       (line 5 repeats line 2) 
    I remembered I hadn't brought my camera (line 6) 
    anticipating a busy schedule            (line 7 repeats line 4) 
    bustling through the intercity.         (line 8) 
    I remembered I hadn't brought my camera (line 9 repeats line 6) 
    for wanting my arms to be free          (line 10) 
    bustling through the intercity          (line 11 repeats line 8) 
    two doves landed a pool of light.       (line 12 - last line - repeats line one) 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL

    February 2000 
    Sing Inside the Lines 
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    INTERNAL RHYME:  Rhyme is a general term for all varieties of sound repetition.  A recurrence of identical or similar elements in a word, a sound, a beat, offers a musical joy and rhythm to poetry.  Internal rhyme exists anywhere within lines, rather than at the end of lines, creating a rhythmical pattern and structure.  Often used to add tone, it sometimes divides long lines into shorter units, adding strength to a poem, and can produce intricate patterns of sound without calling attention to itself.



    The lovely green its branches gave 
    Cooled the brow of blazing sun 
    The little twigs a sparrow sought 
    The yellow leaf, the red... 
    That die it must to stand for people 
    As far as the eye can see 
    That mountains of timber 
    Hung heavy with glass, rise--lock 
    In the land... 
    Scurry us inside. 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Wesley Chapel, FL

    In general, internal rhyme relies on the repetition of a sound within a single line, but may also flow from line to line, enhancing beat and meter.  The poem above begins with the word "lovely," an L sound echoed in the next line in "blazing." "Green...branches," and "brow" use similar sounds.  Further down, we return to L sounds in "yellow," "leaf," and "people."   Sounds are repeated throughout, adding to the complex tonal structure of the poem.

    November 1999 
    "Intricate Poetic Dance - The Sestina," 
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    The Sestina, a form of six stanzas of six lines each, followed by a tercet (half stanza) works very well for the poet who wants to examine a subject from different viewpoints.  The Sestina depends not on rhyme, but on the repetition of end-words. 

    For this form, the poet chooses any six non-rhyming words.  For example:  a) sunshine, b) poems, c) sister, d) silk, e) wood, f) flowers. 

    The pattern: 

    Stanza 1: a, b, c, d, e, f. 
    Stanza 2: f, a, e, b, d, c. 
    Stanza 3: c, f, d, a, b, e. 
    Stanza 4: e, c, b, f, a, d. 
    Stanza 5: d, e, a, c, f, b. 
    Stanza 6: b, d, f, e, c, a. 
    Tercet : ab, cd, ef.

    Mid Summer 

    In a big chair by the light of sunshine, 
    I am half way into a book of poems, 
    undisturbed by the busy world of my sister, 
    who is creating bouquets of straw and silk, 
    placed in containers carved from wood, 
    as she hums softly to her working with flowers. 

    She hasn't always worked with flowers. 
    For months she searched for the warmth of sunshine, 
    let the bitter edge of her thoughts carve planks of wood-- 
    to comfort her--as does my book of poems 
    envelop me, shimmer inside me, like silk. 
    There aren't enough people in this world like my sister. 

    A year ago, you would not know my sister. 
    Of all the things she might choose, the last would be flowers, 
    standing in the doorway, her hands pulling silk 
    scarves away from her head in the bare light of sunshine, 
    her voice falling like the ending of sad poems, 
    her eyes, unremittingly solid as a block of wood.

    But there is something settling in the richness of wood 
    with a deep sigh of its own, learned by my sister. 
    Like the metaphor of soothing poems 
    she found in it, a vessel for flowers, 
    leaning against the hope of crystal sunshine, 
    a sheen about her face--pure as silk. 

    There is something precious and delicate about silk, 
    working over a rough plank of wood-- 
    her voice humming the melody of sunshine.... 
    I have never seen her so beautiful as today, my sister 
    in the quiet moment of flowers... 
    She is the holiness of poems. 

    She is the commitment expressed in a Book of Poems,
    her head wrapped in silk, 
    her strength, placated by bouquets of flowers, 
    the fury of her cancer carved in wood-- 
    this ordinary woman of thirty-six, my sister 
    so young to be called from sunshine. 

    As the sunshine of spring garden poems 
    my sister will leave me scarves of silk 
    the scent of wood, and light crossing bouquets of flowers. 

    Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor

    Sept/Oct 1999 
    by Betty Ann Whitney
    Haven't we heard that a picture is worth a thousand words?  Word pictures communicate directly with our senses, providing a concrete visual experience. Imagery may represent sound, odor, touch, taste, or even an internal sensation, such as hunger, thirst, happiness or fear. Imagery can convey shape, texture, color, motion.  Imagery helps  describe an experience in the following poem: 

    Midst Daily Routine  by Betty Ann Whitney 

    Some of us don't keep ever mindful 
    Muddle the way 
    Of heart set dreams. 

    What was it we lost? 
    Or did we neglect 
    The rising of that sparkling tide 

    Once shimmering inside. 

    Enliven your work.  Try out one or more of the many sensual tools of imagery in your next poem.

    August 1999 
    Echoing Vowels - Assonance
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor.
    Assonance, a form of alliteration, is the repetition of vowel sounds for effect.  These sounds may be identical or similar, used alone or in combination, but their consonants are different. 

    Even though they do not make true rhyme, notice how the sounds echo one another in these examples:

    "For you a rose."  "Grab a handful of paper wrapped candies."  "Sunshine dances through the slats of the shade." 

    Occasional use of assonance or alliteration will enrich your work, but beware of too much dependence on this form.  The Handbook of Poetic Forms, edited by Ron Padgett, mentions that all forms of alliteration command much attention; if overused, your poetry might suffer.

    GLOSSARY  -- May 1999
    by Betty Ann Whitney, Assistant Editor
    At one time figures of speech were defined as either grammatical or rhetorical, whereas metaphor, simile, personification, and similar devices were considered figures of thought.  Current practice has discarded the distinction, and all these devices are now referred to as figures of speech.
    From "The Intimate Art of Writing Poetry" by Ottone M. Riccio, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ.  1980


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