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Poetry Terms


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Direct Comparison that is explicit through the use of "like" or "as"
Comparison that is indirect and describes its subject as being the thing to which it is compared
Mental image created in one's head: 1. Auditory 2. Tactile 3. Olfactory 4. Visual 5. Taste 6. Organic 7. Kinesthetic
A kind of metaphor in which attributes of a person are given to either abstract or non-human beings
A feature whereby a word or phrase represents something else.
figure of speech in which the poet substitutes a word normally associated with something for the term usually naming that thing; "big-sky country" for western Canada.
The description of one kind of sense perception using words that describe another kind of sense perception, as in the phrase, "shining metallic words."
Incongruity between what actually happens and what might be expected to happen: 1. Verbal 2. Dramatic 3. Situational
Deliberate and obvious exaggeration used for effect.
An apparent contradiction that is nevertheless somehow true. The value of a paradox is its "shock value"
A figure of speech in which someone absent or dead or something nonhuman is addressed as if it were alive or present and could reply
Repetition of the same consonant sound, usually at the beginning of each word.
Repetition of vowel sounds to achieve a particular effect.
Words that, by their sound, reflect their meaning.
A harsh, discordant, unpleasant-sounding choice and arrangement of sounds
A smooth, pleasant-sounding choice and arrangement of sounds.
The term used to describe an instance where, because of its grammatical structure, verse runs on from one line to another. The can sometimes take the reader by surprise, as the meaning is not complete at the end of the line.
End Stop
Describes an instance where the grammatical break coincides with the end of a line. The break is often market by a punctuation mark.
A break of pause in a line of verse, but it can be very important to influencing the rhythm of a poem.
Syllable Stress
Natural stresses and in-build rhythm patterns that contribute to the overall rhythmic effect.
Emphatic stress
The emphasis on a particular word or part of the work in order to achieve a particular effect. the stress could be shifted to emphasize a particular meaning or reinforce a point, or even change something.
The pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry, and as such is very closely related to rhythm.
One unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one
One stressed syllable followed by one unstressed.
One stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables
Two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable.
Two stressed syllables
Complete Rhyme
Rhymes that occur at the end of a line.
Internal rhyme
Occur within the line itself
Sight Rhyme
A rhyme that appears incomplete/inaccurate, such as similar vowels that are pronounced differently. E.g. "love" and "move."
Slant Rhyme
When a poet chooses to weaken the rhyme by making the consonant or vowel different. E.g. "soul" and "all"
A poem about dawn; a morning love song; or a poem about the parting of lovers at dawn
A fairly short narrative poem written in a songlike stanza form
continuous form
The form of a poem in which the lines follow each other without formal grouping, the only breaks being dictated by units of meaning
Blank Verse
Unrhymed Iambic Pentameter
Fixed Form
Any form of a poem in which the length and pattern are prescribed by previous usage or traditions, such as sonnet, limerick, haiku
A fixed form of fourteen lines, normally Iambic Pentameter, with a rhyme scheme conforming to two main types 1. Italian: Octave rhyming abbaabba and any arrangement of 2-3 additional rhymes. (Petrarchan) 2. English: Sonnet rhyming ababcdcdefefgg (Shakespearean)
Consists of five lines f anapestic meter, the first two trimester, the next two dimeter, the last line trimester, rhyming aabba; used for humorous, nonsense verse
A three line poem in which lines contain respectively five, seven, and five syllables.
A four-line stanza or a four-line division of a sonnet market off by its rhyme scheme
A repeated word, phrase, line, or group of lines, normally at some fixed position in a poem written in stanzaic form
A group of lines whose metrical pattern (and usually rhyme scheme) is repeated throughout a poem.
The central idea of a literary work
The writer's or speaker's attitude toward the subject, the audience, or herself or himself; the emotional coloring, or emotional meaning, of a work.
Total Meaning
The total experience communicated by a poem. It includes all those dimensions of experience by which a poem communicates - sensuous, emotional, imaginative, and intellectual - and it can be communicated in no other worlds than those of the poem itself

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