The word stanza, the term we use for a grouping of lines within a poem, comes from the Italian word for ‘a room’. The critic Catherine Addison describes the difference between a poem written in continuous lines and one which is subdivided into separate verses:
So what part might such rooms play in your thinking about poetry? Considering this element of poetic construction can often unlock extra dimensions of a poem’s meaning. My examples in this article are taken from the post-1900 section of the AQA ‘Love through the ages’ anthology, but considering the role of the stanza in whatever texts you study will improve your analysis of many different kinds of poems.
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