poem index

The Glossary of Poetic Terms

Year

2004
The Glossary of Poetic Terms
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If you’ve ever wondered what distinguishes a fable from a fabliau, how many syllables are in a dactyl, or who penned the treatise Ars Poetica, look no further than the Glossary of Poetic Terms. The website was compiled by Robert G. Shubinski from about thirty sources--encyclopedias, dictionaries, and books such as Louis Untermeyer’s Doorways to Poetry, Lawrence John Zillman’s The Art and Craft of Poetry, and Lionel Trilling’s The Experience of Literature. With over 1,000 entries, the Glossary of Poetic Terms goes beyond offering definitions: visitors will find phonetic pronunciations, quotes, cross references, historical anecdotes, and links to poems illustrating a given term. For example, "allegory" has a link to Edmund Spenser’s "The Faerie Queene," while "petrarchian sonnet" leads to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s "Divina Comedia" and Sir Thomas Wyatt’s "My Galley, Charged with Forgetfulness." About two dozen links to other online poetry glossaries and references are also available.

The glossary is part of a larger site called Bob’s Byway, through which Shubinski (aka "Bob") offers the visitor two "routes" leading to the exploration of poetry: a "direct" route and a "scenic" route. The direct route goes through a table of contents, with links to the glossary, poems illustrating various poetic forms, tips for enjoying poetry, and a selection of Bob’s own poems, while the scenic route guides the visitor at a slower pace, through divergent links and cross references.

The site is text-heavy, offering little in way of illustrations, photographs, or other visuals, so the poetic journey offered by Bob asks for a bit of imagination from the visitor. Still, with or without visuals, the site--and particularly the glossary--is an excellent resource for readers and writers of poetry.