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1. (in modern prosody) a pause, esp for sense, usually near the middle of a verse line.
2. (in classical prosody) a break between words within a metrical foot, usually in the third or fourth foot of the line



in poetry, a regular break between words in a poem.

In classical poetry, a caesura usually occurred within a foot; in accentual-syllabic verse it usually coincides with the foot ending. The caesura occurs after the second foot in the iambic pentameter line, as in “Eshche odno ∥ poslednee skazan’e” (“Yet one last tale,” Pushkin); after the third foot in iambic and trochaic hexameter lines, for example, “Dni pozdnei oseni ∥ braniat obyknovenno” (“The days of late autumn are usually cursed,” Pushkin); and occasionally after the second foot in the amphibrachic tetrameter line, as in “Gliazhu kak bezumnyi, ∥ na chernuiu shal’” (“I gaze like a madman upon the black shawl,” Pushkin). The longer the line, the greater the need for a caesura. Usually a strong intonational pause, a caesura approaches the strength of a line ending. As with a clausula, the foot preceding a caesura may by truncated or augmented; it may also rhyme, for example, “Tri u Budrysa syna, ∥ kak i on, tri litvina” (“Budrys has three sons, like him, Lithuanians,” Pushkin).



in music, a division between sections of a musical work. Together with other factors, a caesura ensures the perception of the articulation of a work and its structure. There are no special markings to indicate a caesura; in part, phrasing ligatures permit their location to be judged. In a number of instances, a caesura coincides with natural pauses between notes; they always appear after melodic and harmonic cadences, after a hold, and at transitions to a repeat. The significance, or impact, of a caesura is proportional to the scale of the sections it divides and the degree to which they appear a completed entity. In a number of instances, varying opinions concerning the location and significance of a caesura are possible; together with other features, such differences mold the distinctiveness of individual interpretations.

References in periodicals archive ?
Admittedly a few of these caesuras are questionable; my count errs on the side of inclusion.
Kavanagh repeats the late caesura of the poem's first line ('I have lived in important places, times / When great events were decided').
immediately preceding the caesura and the end of the line.
The vigorous caesuras that characterized the opening stanza reappear as the speaker stridently announces his determination to triumph:
It is the traces of those struggles that are given to be read, as they are arranged on the page in their specific occupation of space, their distribution, their disposition of intervals and scansions, their play of precise minimal differences between signs: words, punctuation, silences; delays, anticipations; reversals, caesuras.
Shaw's discussion focuses precisely on this problem of syntax, finding much of the difficulty to be Hopkins' extensive and subtle variety of ellipses: "[W]e must linger with Hopkins over the dashes and caesuras, the empty spaces in language, listening there for the words that are otherwise inaudible" (95).
Ciardi, in correspondence with his fundamental basis of metrical acceleration, states that "the more caesuras and the more stressed syllables that occur in a given passage, the slower its pace will tend to be" (927).
It is through the triangulation of the viewers, the subjects on-screen, and the caesuras in dialogue--the moments of uncertainty between utterance and comprehension--that this work transcends any personalities involved and steers clear of the navel-gazing of much art about art.
The idiosyncratic enjambments, the enormous caesuras, and the dropped and indented lines allow articulate silences and hesitations into the poem.
jokes, caesuras, enjambments fused in a burst of language
Written in an idiom that is direct, terse, and brimming with the vernacular of the railroad song, the poem is marked by a series of caesuras that punctuate the lines.
Thus we find unusual forms such as what Adamson calls "lozenges," squares of writing turned on edge to suggest abstract paintings by Mondrian; or the poem "Francis Webb 1994," which has a serpentine space running through it, as if indicating medial caesuras or alluding to Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse.