Poetry Kaleidoscope: Guide to Poetry

Acephalous Line

Back | Poetry Guide Home | Up | Next

An acephalous or headless line is a line in a poem which does not conform to its accepted metre, due to the first syllable's omission. Acephalous lines are usually deliberate variations in scansion, but this is not always obvious. Famous poems to use such a technique include A.E. Housman's To an Athlete Dying Young. Robert Wallace argues in his Meter in English that the term acephalous line seems "pejorative", as if criticising the poet's violation of scansion, but this view is not widely held among critics [[1].


Poetry Guide Home | Up | Acatalectic | Acephalous Line | Alexandrine | Asclepiad | Catalectic | Dimeter/Couplet | Feminine Ending | Heptameter | Hexameter | Monometer | Octameter | Pentameter | Tetrameter | Trimeter

Poetry Kaleidoscope: Guide to Poetry made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.