poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek '' poiesis'', "making"), also called verse, is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language − such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre − to evoke meanings ...
, a stanza (; from Italian ''stanza'' , "room") is a group of lines within a poem, usually set off from others by a blank line or indentation. Stanzas can have regular
rhyme A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds (usually, the exact same phonemes) in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more words. Most often, this kind of perfect rhyming is consciously used for a musical or aestheti ...
and metrical schemes, but they are not required to have either. There are many different forms of stanzas. Some stanzaic forms are simple, such as four-line
quatrain A quatrain is a type of stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines. Existing in a variety of forms, the quatrain appears in poems from the poetic traditions of various ancient civilizations including Persia, Ancient India, Ancient Gre ...
s. Other forms are more complex, such as the
Spenserian stanza The Spenserian stanza is a fixed verse form invented by Edmund Spenser for his epic poem ''The Faerie Queene'' (1590–96). Each stanza contains nine lines in total: eight lines in iambic pentameter followed by a single 'alexandrine' line in iambi ...
. Fixed verse poems, such as
sestina A sestina (, from ''sesto'', sixth; Old Occitan: ''cledisat'' ; also known as ''sestine'', ''sextine'', ''sextain'') is a fixed verse form consisting of six stanzas of six lines each, normally followed by a three-line envoi. The words that en ...
s, can be defined by the number and form of their stanzas. The stanza has also been known by terms such as ''batch'', ''fit'', and ''stave''. The term ''stanza'' has a similar meaning to '' strophe'', though ''strophe'' sometimes refers to an irregular set of lines, as opposed to regular, rhymed stanzas. Even though the term "stanza" is taken from Italian, in the Italian language the word "strofa" is more commonly used. In music, groups of lines are typically referred to as '' verses''. The stanza in poetry is analogous with the paragraph in
prose Prose is a form of written or spoken language that follows the natural flow of speech, uses a language's ordinary grammatical structures, or follows the conventions of formal academic writing. It differs from most traditional poetry, where th ...
: related thoughts are grouped into units.

Example 1

This short poem by Emily Dickinson has two stanzas of four lines each:
I had no time to hate, because The grave would hinder me, And life was not so ample I Could finish enmity. Nor had I time to love; but since Some industry must be, The little toil of love, I thought, was large enough for me.

Example 2

This poem by Andrew John Young has three stanzas of six lines each:
Frost called to the water Halt And crusted the moist snow with sparkling salt; Brooks, their one bridges, stop, And icicles in long stalactites drop. And tench in water-holes Lurk under gluey glass-like fish in bowls. In the hard-rutted lane At every footstep breaks a brittle pane, And tinkling trees ice-bound, Changed into weeping willows, sweep the ground; Dead boughs take root in ponds And ferns on windows shoot their ghostly fronds. But vainly the fierce frost Interns poor fish, ranks trees in an armed host, Hangs daggers from house-eaves And on the windows ferny am bush weaves; In the long war grown warmer The sun will strike him dead and strip his armour.


External links

* {{Poetic forms Poetic forms Stanzaic form