What is a stanza?

We explain what a stanza is and the types of stanza that exist. In addition, some examples and how many verses has a stanza.

  1. What is a stanza?

It is called stanza the segments into which a poem is divided , each consisting of several verses . Equivalent, more or less, to the paragraphs of prose: medium structural units, which are made up of several propositions around a common axis of meaning or meaning.

In other words, a stanza  is nothing more than a variable set of verses , separated from other similar sets by some punctuation and / or a blank space in the poem .

Today, the poetry does not limit the number of verses that can have a poem , but in ancient times lyric writing for very concise rules governing, for example, a sonnet consists compulsorily of four stanzas: two of four lines and two of three, with precise rhythmic and syllabic structures.

  1. Types of stanza

The stanzas are classified according to their number and type of verses.

There are many types of stanza contemplated in the traditional metric, from the number and type of verses that integrate it, for example:

Stanzas of two verses .

  • Couplets . The rhyme between the two verses corresponds (AA).
  • Joy . A pentasílabo and a decasílabo, comes from the Flemish language.
  • Alleluia . A couplet of octosyllables.

Stanzas of three verses .

  • Terceto . Three endecasyllables (or major art) verses with consonant rhyme usually 11A 11B 11A
  • Tercetillo . Three verses of minor art and consonant rhyme in various schemes.

Stanzas of four verses .

  • Quartet . Four endecasyllables (or major art) with consonant rhyme 11A 11B 11B 11A.
  • Round . Four octosyllables of constant rhyme: 8a 8b 8b 8a.
  • Couplet . Four minor art verses with assonant rhyme: -a, -a.
  • Cuaderna via : Four Alexandrian verses with consonant rhyme: 14A 14A 14A 14A.

Five verse verses .

  • Limerick . Five verses of minor art, consonant rhyme and diverse metric scheme.
  • Quinteto . Five major art verses, consonant rhyme and variable metric scheme.
  • Lyre . Heptayllabic and endecasyllabic verses of consonant rhyme, organized according to formula 7a 11B 7a 7b 11B.

And so on until the 14 verses, or the so-called “series”: compositions of corrido and without defined stanza, such as Romance.

  1. Examples of stanza

Some examples of stanzas extracted from real poems are the following:

  • “Moon! Crown of an immense head,
    that you are stripping in shades of black!
    Red crown of a Jesus who thinks
    tragically sweet of emeralds! ”

Cesar Vallejo

  • “I know that there are those who say: why don’t you sing now
    with that harmonious madness of yesteryear?
    Those do not see the profound work of the hour,
    the work of the minute and the prodigy of the year. ”

Ruben Dario

  • “My essential things arrive.
    They are choruses of choruses.
    Between the reeds and the late afternoon,
    how strange that Federico calls me! ”
  1. How many verses does a stanza have?

As we have seen, stanzas can have different numbers of verses, even more so in contemporary poetry that is not governed by metrics or fixed patterns. For example, the stanza below has two verses:

  • “Only your warm heart,
    and nothing more.”

Instead, the following stanza has three verses:

  • “A year after your light, and illuminated
    Until the end of its beating, for her,
    the journey breaks the tired heart”

And the following, four verses:

  • “If thus the unconscious soul,
    Lord of the stars and the leaves,
    were, on shadow,
    from life to death.”

This last example has five verses:

  • “The Hours go feverish, and in the corners
    abort blond centuries of happiness.
    Who throws the thread so much: who
    ruthlessly picks up our nerves,
    strings already worn, to the grave! ”

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