Guide to Literary Terms

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Stanza

Stanza - an arrangement of lines of verse in a pattern usually repeated throughout the poem. It has a fixed number of verses or lines, a prevailing kind of meter, and a consistent rhyme scheme. A stanza may form a division of a poem or constitute a selection in its entirety.

The term is from the Latin stantem, which was derived from stare, meaning “to stand.”

Earlier English terms for stanza were “batch,” “fit”, and “stave.”

see: ballad, haiku, ode