Poetry Terms

Poetry - a type of literature that usually makes use of highly concise, musical, and emotionally charged language, as well as imagery, figurative language, and special devices such as rhyme.

Sound of the poem

Onomatopoeia - the use of words that imitate sounds

"How they clang, and clash, and roar!"

Repetition - the use of any element of language (a sound, a word, a phrase, a sentence) more than once, used for musical effects and for emphasis

Alliteration - repetition of initial consonant sounds

"Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hooves were gone."

Assonance - the repetition of vowel sounds followed by different consonants
"Some late entreating entrance," "While I pondered, weak and weary."

Rhyme - repetition of sounds at the ends of words

Rhythm - pattern of beats, or stresses, in spoken or written language

Structure of the poem

Meter - rhythmical pattern of a poem, determined by the number and types of stresses, or beats, in each line.

Stanza - a formal division of lines in a poem, considered as a unit.

Rhyme scheme - regular pattern of rhyming words in a poem, indicated by using different letters for each new rhyme.

Couplet - a pair of rhyming lines, generally the same length and meter, expressing a single idea

"For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings."

Figurative language

Figurative language - writing or speech not meant to be interpreted literally, used to create vivid impressions by setting up comparisons between dissimilar things

Imagery - descriptive or figurative language used to create word pictures for the reader, using details of sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, or movement

Personification - type of figurative language in which a nonhuman subject is given human characteristics

Simile - figure of speech in which like or as is used to make a comparison between two basically unlike ideas.

"Continuous as the stars that shine / And twinkle on the milky way."

Metaphor - figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as though it were something else

"Hold fast to dreams / For if dreams die / Life is a broken-wing bird / That cannot fly."

Extended metaphor - sustains the comparison for several lines of for an entire poem

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