Paragraphs are to prose writing what stanzas are to poetry. Considered as the structural units of a poem , they not only help to develop and string together the central idea, but also provide rhythm to a poetic composition. Therefore, it is essential that children become familiar with the stanzas from an early age, learn to identify them within a poem and be able to understand their meter.

What are stanzas?

Basically, the stanzas are a set of verses linked together by their common characteristics. Unlike paragraphs, they can end with a semicolon, a full stop, or a semicolon. In fact, in some cases, they can also include verses that are joined following a criterion of length, rhyme and/or rhythm, which makes it difficult for many children to identify at first sight.

A simple trick to delimit the stanzas within a poem is to find the meter of the verses, that is, their measure. In this way, it will be possible to group the verses that follow the same criteria and identify the stanzas to which they belong. In some cases, delineating verses based on punctuation patterns is another helpful resource , while for more complicated verses, finding rhyme and/or rhythm between lines may work.

Main differences between verse, rhyme and stanza

An important detail that children should be clear about when studying stanzas is their difference from rhyme and verse. Of these, the smallest unit is the rhyme , which is nothing more than a sequence of phonemes that is repeated at the end of two or more lines. Meanwhile, the verses are each of the lines that form a poem and have a specific structure, cadence and measure. Meanwhile, the stanza is the set of ordered verses.

In other words, the stanza is made up of lines that, in turn, include the rhyme starting from the last stressed syllable. They are all part of a poem, but are divided in this way for better semantic understanding.

The different types of verses

Once the children have a good understanding of what a stanza is, explain to them how they are classified. Beyond the mere linguistic distinction, this will help children to more easily identify the stanzas within a poem. To begin with, teach them the simplest classification, according to the number of syllables.

  • Isometric stanza. It is the most used stanza in the lyric. In this type of stanza all lines have the same number of syllables.
  • Heterometric stanza. In this type of stanza, the verses that make it up do not have the same number of syllables.

Likewise, the stanzas are also classified according to the number of verses, this being their main distinction.

two verses

The smaller stanzas have two lines. These can rhyme with each other as in the case of the couplet or be different, as in the case of the couplet. This category also includes the alleluia, which is a minor art couplet (which has eight syllables or less), and the alegría , which includes a five-syllable verse and another ten-syllable.

A gift horse
Don’t look at its teeth.

three verses

Within the three-line stanzas is the triplet, which is nothing more than a set of three lines, usually hendecasyllables and with rhyme. There is also the tercetillo or third made up of minor art verses and rhyme, and the soleá, typical of Andalusian popular poetry, which consists of three minor art verses with assonance rhyme.

The eye that you see is not an
eye because you see it, it
is an eye because it sees you.

four verses

It is the type of stanza most used in the Spanish language. Within this group are included the stanzas of major art, that is, whose verses have more than eight syllables, such as the cuarteto and the serventesio, which have 11 syllables and rhyme, and the via frame, formed by four Alexandrian verses of 14 syllables and rhyme. The stanzas of minor art are also included: the redondilla and the cuarteta, made up of 8 syllables and rhyme, the copla that has lines of less than 8 syllables, and the seguidilla made up of lines of 5 or 7 syllables and rhyme assonance.

Sometimes a certainty anguishes me,
and before me my future shudders.
Suddenly stalking him is a wall
from the final suburb where he stumbles.

five verses

Within the stanzas formed by five verses, the quintilla is included, which are verses of minor art and rhyme. There is also the quintet, which are verses of major art with rhyme and variable meter, and the lira that mixes verses of major and minor art.

There was a forest and a nest
and in that nest a goldfinch
that, happy and shaken,
after a beloved dream,
crossed the entire world.

six verses

The group of six-line stanzas includes the sextilla, made up of minor art verses, and the sextet, made up of major art verses. Within these stanzas there is also the couplet of broken foot that combines verses of 8 and 4 syllables.

The river brought
crowns of wind
and a great snake
from an old trunk
looked at the
round clouds in the sky.

seven verses

Septets are the best-known seven- line stanzas. It is a stanza composed of a combination of verses of minor art and major art with rhyme.

If the cold mist already
offends against the hateful lightning that dawns
and against the clear day
the very dark wings extend,
it does not reach what it undertakes,
finally and disappears,
and the pure sun in the sky shines.

eight verses

The best-known eight-line stanzas is the Italian eighth, which is made up of eight lines of major art and rhyme, of which the second rhymes with the third, the sixth with the seventh and the fourth with the eighth, remaining loose. the first and the fifth. There is also the royal octave made up of hendecasyllables that rhyme alternately between the first six and the last two, as well as the pamphlet made up of less art verses and the same layout as the Italian octave.

Your breath is the breath of flowers;
your voice is the harmony of the swans;
your look is the splendor of the day,
and the color of the rose is your color.
You lend new life and hope
to a heart for love already dead;
you grow from my life in the desert.

nine verses

The ninth , also known as copla novena, is a stanza of nine verses of minor art and rhyme that is usually made up of a redondilla followed by a fifth.

That the righteous
and true and frank kings,
make the ravines flat,
and the rocky castles;
that justice with frankness
and with enameled truth,
was never such strength,
such constancy, such firmness,
that it was not subjugated.

ten verses

The tenth or spinel is the most popular ten-line stanza. It consists of ten eight-syllable lines of consonant rhyme. Another of its forms is the royal copla, formed by 10 octosyllabic verses of minor art.

People usually tell me
– who, in part, know my bad –
that the main cause
is written on their forehead.
And although I play brave
then my tongue slips
through what gilds and nuances;
that what the chest does not spend
any nonsense is enough
to cover it with ashes».

sweet verses

Also known as Alexandrian , they are the most common twelve-line stanzas. These are indefinite verses that rhyme at the mercy of the author.

Tell me, the king of the Moors,
the one with the beautiful gardens,
the one with the rich treasures,
the one with a hundred paladins,
the one with the openwork towers
with their carved needles,
the one with Moorish alcatifas,
the king of the crescents,
of the sovereign kings,
the one with the golden Alhambra,
where is my Christian,
the one with the red cross?

fourteen verses

Within this group of stanzas the sonnet is included, which is nothing more than a rhyme composed of 14 verses of major art, formed by two quatrains and two triplets. There is also the sonnet, a type of stanza structured by 14 lines that in turn are arranged in two quatrains and two triplets.

Violante orders me to write a sonnet,
for I have never seen myself in such a bind in my life;
fourteen lines say that it is a sonnet:
mockery mocking the three go ahead.
I thought she couldn’t find a consonant
and I’m in the middle of another quatrain;
but if I see myself in the first triplet
there is nothing in the quartets that scares me.
For the first triplet I am entering
and it seems that I entered with the right foot, well,
with this verse I am giving it an end.
I’m already in the second, and I still suspect
that I’m finishing the thirteen verses;
count if they are fourteen, and it is done.