Stanzas are the building blocks of formal poetry, like paragraphs in a story or verses in a song. They usually have the same number of lines each time, and often use a rhyming pattern that repeats with each new stanza.

Shakespeare was the master of the stanza. His sonnets had three stanzas that were each four lines long, and then a two-line stanza at the end, all with a very particular rhyme and rhythm pattern. Poems with stanzas always have some sort of structure to them, but not all poetry uses stanzas, for example — free verse tends to be wild poetry without structural rules.

Definitions of stanza

n a fixed number of lines of verse forming a unit of a poem

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a stanza consisting of two successive lines of verse; usually rhymed
a rhythmic group of eight lines of verse
a rhythmic group of six lines of verse
envoi, envoy
a brief stanza concluding certain forms of poetry
a stanza of four lines
Spenserian stanza
a stanza with eight lines of iambic pentameter and a concluding Alexandrine with the rhyme pattern abab bcbc c
one section of a lyric poem or choral ode in classical Greek drama
the section of a choral ode answering a previous strophe in classical Greek drama; the second of two metrically corresponding sections in a poem
rhyme royal
a stanza form having seven lines of iambic pentameter; introduced by Chaucer
ottava rima
a stanza of eight lines of heroic verse with the rhyme scheme abababcc
elegiac stanza
a quatrain in iambic pentameter with abab rhyme scheme
closed couplet
a rhymed couplet that forms a complete syntactic unit
heroic couplet
a couplet consisting of two rhymed lines of iambic pentameter and written in an elevated style
heroic stanza
a quatrain consisting of two heroic couplets written in an elevated style; the rhyme scheme is abab
Type of:
text, textual matter
the words of something written

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