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  • Light verse

    Whimsical, amusing poems such as limericks, nonsense poems, and double dactyls, practised by such as Robert Herrick, Tom Hood, Charles Stuart Calverley, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Gelett Burgess, Frederick Locker-Lampson, Dorothy Parker, Eugene O'Neill, Odgen Nash, T. S. Eliot, John Betjeman, John Hollander, and Wendy Cope.

  • Limerick

    A fixed verse form appearing first in The History of Sixteen Wonderful Old Women (1820), popularized by Edward Lear, and rhyming aabba, where a-lines have five feet and the b-lines three feet, and where the first and last lines end with the same word (a practice dropped in the 20th century). A limerick has been defined as "A comic poem consisting of one couplet of accentual Poulter's Measure with fixed (internal) rhyme: 3aa2bb3a" (Malof, 204). Lear fused the third and fourth lines into a single line with internal rhyme. See examples authored by such as Gelett Burgess and A. H. Reginald Buller.

  • Line

    A unit of verse whose length is prescribed by a criterion other than the right-hand margin of the page (e.g., a certain length in syllables, meeting a boundary rhyming word, completing a phrase).

    • half-line or hemistich: part of a line bounded by a caesura or some upper limit of syllables or stresses.
  • Little Willie

    A comic verse form, often a quatrain rhyming aabb but really identified by its content, the gruesome fate of "Little Willy" or a comparable figure. The form, popularized by Harry Graham (1874-1936), includes the well-known

    Billy, in one of his nice new sashes,
    Fell in the fire and was burnt to ashes;
    Now, although the room grows chilly,
    I haven't the heart to poke poor Willie.

    (The Norton Book of Light Verse, ed. Russell Baker [New York: W. W. Norton, 1986]: 304). For another example, see Eugene Field's "Little Willie."

  • Litotes


    A deliberate understatement.

  • Liverpool poets

    A 1960s group of popular writers from the west-England city of Liverpool, including Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, and Brian Patten.

  • Luc-bat

    (Vietnamese, ‘six-eight’)

    A Vietnamese poetic form of syllablic couplets, alternating six and eight syllables, where the first eight-syllable line rhymes with the next six-syllable line, and so on.

  • Lyric

    Short poem in which the poet, the poet's persona, or a speaker expresses personal feelings, and often addressed to the reader (originally, a poem sung to a lyre).