Poetry Terms by NePTUYG


									                                    Poetry Terms
Rhyme and Sound
Rime: old spelling of rhyme, which is the repetition of like sounds at regular intervals,
employed in versification, the writing of verse.

End Rhyme: rhyme occurring at end of verse line; most common rhyme form.

Internal Rhyme: rhyme contain within a line of verse.

Rhyme Scheme: pattern of rhyme within a unit of verse; in analysis, each end rhyme-
sound is represented b y a letter (abab cdcd).

Masculine Rhyme: rhyme in which only the last, accented syllables of the rhyming
words correspond exactly in sound; most common kind of end rhyme.

Feminine Rhyme: rhyme in which two consecutive syllables of the rhyme-words
correspond, the first syllable carrying the accent; double rhyme.
      Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying,
      O the pain, the bliss of dying!
                                    (Alexander Pope, “Vital Spark of Heavenly Flame”)

Slant Rhyme (Half Rhyme): imperfect, approximate rhyme.
      In the mustard seed sun
      By full tilt river and switchback sea
      Where the cormorants scud,
      In his house on stilts high among beaks...
                                    (Dylan Thomas, “Poem on His Birthday”)

Assonance: repetition of two or more vowel sounds within a line.

Consonance: repetition of two or more consonant sounds within a line.

Alliteration: repetition of two or more initial sounds in words within a line.

Onomatopoeia: the technique of using a word whose sound suggests its meaning.

Euphony: the use of compatible, harmonious sounds to produce a pleasing, melodious

Cacophony: the use of inharmonious sounds in close conjunction for effect; pposite of

Meter: Meter is poetry’s rhythm, or its pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Meter is measured in units of feet. There are five basic kinds of metric feet:
      1. Iambic                   Example:      bal loon
      2.   Trochaic                             so da
      3.   Anapestic                            con tra dict
      4.   Dactyllic                            ma ni ac
      5.   Spondaic                             man made

Poetic Devices and Aspects of Poetry

Conceit: an extended metaphor comparing two unlike objects with powerful effect.

Dramatic Situation: the circumstances of the speaker. Also referred to as the “SOAPS.”

Theme: author’s major idea or meaning, which relates to the author’s purpose.

Tone: author’s attitude toward his subject and toward his audience.

Poetic Form
Lyric Poem: the lyric is the most common and widely used type of poem, taking many
different forms. Common elements in lyric poems include limited length, intense subjectivity,
personal expression of the emotions and thoughts of one speaker, imaginative expression,
and regular rhyme scheme. Lyric poetry does not tell a story as the epic and narrative forms
do. The lyric poem has grown into many forms since ancient times.

     Origin of Lyric Poetry
     On the ancient Greek stage, a dramatic production often featured a chorus, which was a
     group of speakers, who commented on the action of the play. When a single individual
     sang or spoke more personally and accompanied himself on a lyre, the verse was called
     lyric. Thus, our present designation of lyric poetry includes personal, individual emotion.
     The lyric does not tell a story as an epic or narrative poem does. Most poetry as we think
     of it is lyric poetry.

     There are many subdivisions of lyric poetry. The most common is the song, including
     popular songs that are heard frequently on the radio. The words to songs are often
     inaccurately referred to as “lyrics.” The entire song is the lyric.

     The next best-known lyric is the sonnet, which may be in the Petrarchan or Italian form,
     Elizabethan or Shakespearean or English form, or the American or innovative form. The
     Petrarchan takes its name from the 13th century Italian poet Petrarch. The Petrarchan
     sonnet consists of two stanzas: an octave of eight lines with the rime scheme
     ABBAABBA and a sestet of six lines with a varied rime scheme CDE.
The Elizabethan sonnet also has fourteen lines but is divided into three quatrains and a
couplet; the standard rime scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. Shakespeare is the poet
most associated with this form, so much so that is also called the Shakespearean
A third sonnet form is the innovative sonnet or American sonnet, which is usually a free
verse poem written in fourteen lines. Rime is usually infrequent and often quite
accidental, but the American sonnet is often driven by rhythm and individual speech
patterns. Wanda Coleman’s “American Sonnet” exemplifies the innovative sonnet.

The villanelle is a widely used form. It consists of nineteen lines, five tercets and a final
quatrain. It has only two rimes which appear in the first and third lines of the tercets and
then make up the couplet in the final two lines of the quatrain. The most widely read and
studied villanelle is without a doubt Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good

The lyric poem known as a hymn is ironically intended to by sung by a chorus, departing
greatly from the Greek tradition that distinguished choric from lyric. The hymn’s main
distinction is it subject, which is spiritual. The hymn is offered to the Divine; it is an
outpouring of emotion, love, and devotion to Divinity.

The form of a hymn is often written in quatrains with a rime scheme ABAB or ABCB. A
modern hymn is “How Great Thou Art,” words and music by Carl G. Boberg and R.J.

The ode usually exalts it subject. It is dedicated to one theme to honor its subject usually
an important person or idea such a freedom. There are three subdivisions of odes: the
Pindaric, the Horation, and the irregular. Allen Tate’s “Ode to the Confederate Dead”
exemplifies a modern ode.

The elegy is a highly formal verse focusing on death or any other solemn subject. Most
noted elegies are Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” and Whitman’s “When
Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.” Milton’s “Lycidas” is an example of a pastoral

Other Lyric Forms
Other lyric forms of poetry include occasional verse or vers de société, the rondeau, and
the rondel.

Occasional verse is written for a special event. Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus,”
which is also a sonnet, is an occasional poem, because she wrote it to help raise funds
to buy a pedestal for the new statue that was given the United States by France in 1886.
     The rondeau is light verse poem used for fanciful subjects. It consists of fifteen lines with
     lines nine and fifteen acting as a refrain. The rime scheme is AABBA AABC AABBAC
     The rondel is similar to a sonnet; it consists of thirteen or fourteen lines with a rime

     Most Poetry is Lyric
     Most poetry that we experience is some form or combination of lyric poetry, resulting in
     many varieties of poetry. Emily Dickinson’s poems often employ the form of the hymn.
     Often fond of the elegy, Walt Whitman wrote sprawling catalogues of people and things,
     but his basic form is still lyrical.

     Each poet expresses his/her voice through the varying forms of poetry, and most of it
     can truly be defined as lyric as opposed to epic or narrative. Poets do tell stories but
     seldom in what we have come to think of as the story form.

Narrative Poem: tells a story. The poem may be simple or complicated, brief or very
long, as in an epic. Almost the opposite of the lyric poem, a narrative poem is
commonly highly objective, told by a speaker detached from the action whose thoughts
and feelings to not enter the poem. It has a regular rhyme scheme.

Blank Verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter.

Free Verse: verse without rhyme or meter.

Dramatic Monologue: Another form of the lyric poem, a dramatic monologue is a
poem told by one speaker about a significant event. In his own words, the speaker
reveals some dramatic situation in which he is involved. He addresses a listener who
does not engage in dialogue. The speaker characterizes himself through the poem.
Refer to Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess.”

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