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CRWT 046b


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A poetic device in which an arbitrary number of lines begin with the same word. Ex.) “Tell fortune of her blindness; / Tell nature of decay; / Tell friendship of unkindness; / Tell justice of delay.” [From Poetry: A Critical and Historical Introduction).
A figure of speech in which words and phrases with opposite meanings are balanced against each other. Ex) “To err is human, to forgive, divine” (Alexander Pope).
The natural rhythm of language caused by the alternation of accented and unaccented syllables. Much modern poetry— notably Free Verse — deliberately manipulates cadence to create complex rhythmic effects.
A pause in a line of poetry, usually occurring near the middle. It typically corresponds to a break in the natural rhythm or sense of the line but is sometimes shifted to create special meanings or rhythmic effects. Ex) “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning).
A fanciful poetic image or metaphor that likens one thing to something else that is seemingly different. Ex) Shakespeare’s sonnet “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” or Emily Dickinson’s poem “Loaded Gun.”
(Also known as Half Rhyme or Slant Rhyme.) Consonance occurs when words appearing at the ends of two or more verses have similar final consonant sounds but have final vowel sounds that differ, as with "stuff" and "off," or “lost” and “past
A term used to describe works of literature that aim to teach some moral, religious, political, or practical lesson. Although didactic elements are often found in artistically pleasing works, the term "didactic" usually refers to literature in which the message is more important than the form. The term may also be used to criticize a work that the critic finds "overly didactic," that is, heavy-handed in its delivery of a lesson.
The continuation of a complete idea (a sentence or clause) from one line or couplet/ stanza of a poem to the next line or couplet/stanza without a pause. Enjambment comes from the French word for “to straddle.” Ex) “I think I shall never see / A poem as lovely as a tree” (Joyce Kilmer, “Trees”).
It is a short concluding stanza.
Feminine Rhyme
When the rhyming syllables which end the line are followed by identical unstressed syllables. Ex.) mother, brother and unloaded corroded
Figurative Language
A technique in writing in which the author temporarily interrupts the order, construction, or meaning of the writing for a particular effect. This interruption takes the form of one or more figures of speech such as hyperbole, irony, metaphor or simile. Figurative language is the opposite of literal language, in which every word is truthful, accurate, and free of exaggeration or embellishment.
Figures of Speech
Writing that differs from customary conventions for construction, meaning, order, or significance for the purpose of a special meaning or effect. Types of figures of speech include simile, hyperbole, alliteration, irony and pun, among many others.
Free Verse:
Also known as Vers libre.) Poetry that lacks regular metrical and rhyme patterns but that tries to capture the cadences of everyday speech. It allows a poet to exploit a variety of rhythmical effects within a single poem.
The basic unit utilized in the description of the underlying rhythm of a poem. A foot consists of a certain number of syllables forming part of a line of verse. A foot is described by the character and number of syllables it contains: in English, feet are named for the combination of accented and unaccented syllables; in other languages such as Latin and Greek, the duration of the syllable (long or short) is measured.
A device used as a vehicle for tone in poetry. Irony is achieved in many ways: through satire, cynicism, scorn, ridicule, debasement, and abuse.
Masculine Rhyme:
When the rhyming syllables which end the line are stressed. Ex.) present, intent and pole console.
The meter or metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse meter, or a certain set of meters alternating in a particular order.
It is a symbol of a special kind. It is the use of an object closely associated with something to represent the thing itself. Ex.) “When the house doth sigh and weep / And the world is drowned in sleep.” (Robert Herrick in His Litany to the Holy Spirit).
It often expresses a paradox, linking in one syntactical unit words that seem to cancel each other out. Ex.) “honest thief,” “beautifully ugly,” “living death,” etc.
It is a statement that seems to imply a contradiction.
A way to organize a sentence by giving corresponding parts corresponding expressions. It is a kind of rhythm. Ex.) “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman.
A phrase repeated at intervals throughout a poem. A refrain may appear at the end of each stanza or at less regular intervals. It may be altered slightly at each appearance. Ex) “One Art” (Elizabeth Bishop).
All the devices of language that poets employ as the very heart of their poetry.
It is a symbol of a special kind. The device which makes a part stand for the whole. Ex.) “lusty bloods in fresh array” – this component of the human body which is only liquid flowing through veins and arteries is made to stand for the whole person—not only the physical being but also the emotional state.
A kind of analogy that works with intersense relationships or “blending feelings.” It is the perception or interpretation of the data of one sense in the term of the other. Ex.) The colors of music.

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