* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Literature Glossary

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.



Just like in songs, a refrain in poetry is a regularly recurring phrase or verse, especially at the end of each stanza or division of a poem or song.

Hmm. Let Shmoop think. The most famous refrain of all time? It's gotta be the one from T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

Oh, how we wish those women would shut up already.