Poetry Terms English Alliteration • The close repetition of initial consonants in poetry or prose. Example: Peter Piper picked a pack of pickeled peppers. Assonance • The repetition of vowel sounds, without repetition of consonants. Example: “The agate lamp within thy hand” Edgar Allan Poe Couplet • Two lines of verse grouped together as a stanza, or because they share a common rhyme scheme or metrical form. The lines of a couplet usually form a complete thought. Example: A sweet disorder in the dress Kindles in clothes a wantonness End-stopped line • A line whose literal end coincides with the ending of its sense and grammar. Example: I will arise and go now and go to Innisfree William Butler Yeats Enjambment • The flow of sense, as in ordinary prose, between the end of one line of poetry and the beginning of the next. Example: That’s my last dutchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder now: Fra Pandolf’s hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Epic • A long, narrative poem that focuses on a large, serious subject and depicts a heroic figure who may embody national, cultural, or religious ideals. The actions of the hero usually determine the fate of his people, history, or eternal human problems. Free Verse • Generally unrhymed verse free form metrical structures. Hyperbole • Exceptional exaggeration for comic or dramatic effect. Example: I am so hungry I could eat a cow. Iamb • Metrical unit of foot in which the first syllable is unstressed and the second is stressed. Example: The sea is calm tonight Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach” Iambic Pentameter • Line of poetry with five iambs, a common metrical form in English verse. Example: A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse Imagery • In poetry, the expression of an idea, object, or action by creating an actual or symbolic sensation. To paint a picture for the reader through words. Metaphor • Figure of speech that substitutes on object for another. A is B. Example: I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor. Meter • In poetry, a system for measuring the number of feet of a certain rhythm and organizing them into lines. Types: Monometer (1) Pentameter (5) Dimeter (2) Hexameter (6) Trimeter (3) Heptameter (7) Tetrameter (4) Octameter (8) Mood • The emotion that is evoked in the reader by the poem. • Moods: Sad, happy, angry, etc. Onomatopoeia • The use of words whose sounds suggest the sense. Example: Pow, buzz, hiss, etc. Oxymoron Self-contradiction in words, as when an adjective does not go with a noun. Example: Brute Beauty Paradox • A statement that appears self- contradictory but actually has a basis in truth. Example: Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage. Personification • Treating nonhuman things as if they are human. Example: The windows were closed so tight they could hardly breath. Refrain/Repetition • A stanza, line, or phrase that is repeated regularly or irregularly throughout a work. It can be used to emphasize thematic, rhythmic, or stylistic qualities. Rhetorical Question • Something in the form of a question that really makes a statement, usually negative. Tone of voice is a tip-off. Said in one way, “Who cares” may be a genuine question from someone who wants to know who is concerned. In the usual sounding, however, “Who cares?” amounts to “Nobody Cares.” Rhyme • Rhyme is the recurrence of identical or similar sounds which, in poetry, can occur at the end, beginning, or middle of a line; end rhyme is the most common in poetry. Rhyme continued… • End Rhyme- The words at the end of lines rhyme (creates a rhyme scheme) • Internal Rhyme- Rhymes or near-rhymes occur in the middle of lines. Like in this line where the “o” sound is internally repeated. [“eyes closed, mouth open, raw hot wind/ blowing sand…] • Rhyme Scheme- the fixed pattern of rhyme for the whole poem [abab, cdcd, efef, gg] Rhythm • The sense of movement caused by patterning of stressed and unstressed syllables. Simile • Figure of speech that compares two objects by using the words “as,” “as if,” or “like.” A is like B Sonnet • Poem of Fourteen lines, usually in iambic pentameter, that is restricted to a definite rhyme scheme. Speaker • The narrator of a poem Stanza • In poetry, a regular, rhymed, recurrent pattern of lines. The counterpart of a paragraph in prose, except that it is regulated by form (numbers of lines, rhyme scheme, meter, and so on), and customarily divided from other stanzas by spaces. Types: Couplet (rhymed) Tercet (unrhymed) Triplet (rhymed) Quatrain (rhymed/unrhymed) Tone • The speaker’s attitude that is revealed in the poem.
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