10. STANZA FORMS
A stanza is a group of lines in a poem that forms its basic, structural unit. It is printed as a unit separated by a space from other similar units of a poem. There are unfixed and fixed stanza forms in English poetry. For the unfixed stanza form, the number of lines, the meter,and the rhyme pattern are irregular. Some poems are arranged in verse paragraphs, that is,in units of thought of varying lengths. To His Coy Miostress by Marvell (1621-1678) is a poem made up of three strophes of rhyimg couplets of iambic tetrameter with a logical bearing upon the central issue, carpe diem. Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach and many modern and contemporary poems are written in unfixed stanzas, some long and some short.
The fixed stanza form must have a definite number of lines. Many of them have been long established in English poetry, which have certain rhyme schemes and metrical patterns. There are various traditional stanza forms in English poetry, but before coming to introduce the specific fixed traditional forms, we have to point out that not any particular effect or subject matter is absolutely associated with a certain particular stanza form.
Nevertheless, to a conscious good poem writer, the proper stanza form will be of great help to his better exppression of the subject matter, and to a disciplined sensitive poem reader he will be able to enjoy much more than an ordinary readder.
(To be continued)