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. (December 2009)
Italian poetry is a category of Italian literature. Italian poetry has its origins in the thirteenth century and has heavily influenced the poetic traditions of many European languages, including that of English.
- Italian prosody is accentual and syllabic, much like English. The most common metrical line is the hendecasyllable, which is very similar to English iambic pentameter. Shorter lines like the settenario are used as well.
- The earliest Italian poetry is rhymed. Rhymed forms of Italian poetry include the sonnet (sonnetto), terza rima, ottava rima, the canzone and the ballata. Beginning in the sixteenth century, unrhymed hendecasyllabic verse, known as verso sciolto, became a popular alternative (compare blank verse in English).
- Feminine rhymes are generally preferred over masculine rhymes.
- Apocopic forms (uom for uomo, amor for amore) and contractions (spirto for spirito) are common. Expanded forms of words which have become contracted in ordinary use (cittade for città, virtute for virtù) are also frequently encountered, particularly for the sake of ending lines with feminine rhymes.
- Diaeresis may be used to break up diphthongs and to make semivowels into full vowels. For instance, the trisyllabic word sapienza can be turned into the tetrasyllabic sapïenza. The rules governing when diaeresis is permissible are complex, and it occurs more commonly with learnèd vocabulary than with colloquialisms.
As with other European languages, Italian poets have become increasingly open to experimentation in recent centuries and free verse (verso libero) is written by many Italian poets.
Important Italian poets