What is a Stanza?

By Shane Watson
In Poetry
Apr 8th, 2011
2 Comments
590 Views

Stanza, Definition, Poem Examples and Forms in Poetry

Definition of a Stanza?

A stanza can be defined as,

“A group of  verses or lines forming a section within the larger poem is called a stanza. The lines forming one stanza are similar in their its metre  and rhyme scheme. The number of lines appearing in one stanza varies from 2 to 8 and normally remains consistent throughout the poem.”

A stanza can also be better understood as one paragraph in the poem.

Types of Stanzas

  1. Couplet: A stanza with two rhyming lines
  2. Tercet: A stanzas with three lines that may or may not rhyme
  3. Quatrain: A stanzas with four lines that may or may not rhyme
  4. Cinquain: A stanzas with five lines that may or may not rhyme
  5. Sestet: A stanzas with six lines that may or may not rhyme
  6. Septet: A stanzas with seven lines that may or may not rhyme
  7. Octave: A stanzas with eight lines that may or may not rhyme

Other variations in the Stanza form include the following:

Example of a Stanza Poem

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.

Stanza #1

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, (line 1)

And sorry I could not travel both (line 2)

And be one traveler, long I stood (line 3)

And looked down one as far as I could (line 4)

To where it bent in the undergrowth; (line 5)

Stanza #2

Then took the other, as just as fair (line 6)

And having perhaps the better claim, (line 7)

Because it was grassy and wanted wear; (line 8)

Though as for that, the passing there (line 9)

Had worn them really about the same, (line 10)

Stanza #3

And both that morning equally lay (line 11)

In leaves no step had trodden black (line 12)

Oh, I kept the first for another day! (line 13)

Yet knowing how way leads on to way, (line 14)

I doubted if I should ever come back. (line 15)

Stanza #4

I shall be telling this with a sigh (line 16)

Somewhere ages and ages hence: (line 17)

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I (line 18)

I took the one less traveled by, (line 19)

And that has made all the difference. (line 20)

  • Kathie

    Thanks for making this website. Really helped work.

  • Editor

    You are welcome Kathie :) Let us know what other kind of information do you require.

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