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Allegory

A story in which the characters, setting, and events stand for abstract or moral concepts.

Alliteration

The repetition of consonant sounds in words that are close to one another.

Allusion

A reference to a statement, person, place, event, or thing that is known from literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, science, or popular culture.

Anapestic

Metrical measurement of two unstressed syllables and then one stressed one (u u ')

Aphorism

A concise, sometimes witty saying that expresses a principle, truth, or observation about life.

Apostrophe

A figure of speech in which a speaker directly addresses an absent or dead person, an abstract quality, or dead human as if it were present and capable of responding.

Assonance

The repetition of similar vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds in words that are close together.

Ballad

A song or songlike poem that tells a story.

Blank Verse

Poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter.

Caesura

A pause or break within a line of poetry, usually indicated by the natural rhythm of the language.

Canto

A subdivision in a long poem, corresponding to a chapter in a book.

Conceit

A fanciful and elaborate figure of speech that makes a surprising connection between two seemingly dissimilar things.

Connotation

All the meanings, associations, or emotions that have come to be attached to a word.

Consonance

The repetition of final consonant sounds after different vowel sounds.

Couplet

Two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme.

Dactylic

A metrical foot in poetry that consists of two stressed syllables followed by one unstressed syllable.

Denotation

The literal, dictionary definition of a word.

Diction

A writer's or speaker's choice of words.

Dramatic Song

A poem found in a play that serves to establish mood, reveal character, or advance action.

Elegy

A poem that mourns the death of a person or laments something lost.

End-Stopped Line

A line of poetry in which the meter and the meaning conclude with the end of the line.

End Rhyme

A word at the end of one line rhymes with a word at the end of another line.

Epic

A long narrative poem that relates the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society.

Epithet

An adjective or other descriptive phrase that is regularly used to characterize a person, place, or thing.

Figurative Language/Figure Of Speech

A word or phrase that describes one thing in terms of another, dissimilar thing, and is not meant to be understood on a literal level.

Foot

Two or more syllables that together make up the smallest unit of rhythm in a poem.

Heroic Couplet

A couplet consisting of two rhymed lines of iambic pentamenter and written in an elevated style.

Hyperbole

A figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion or create a comic effect.

Imagery

Language that appeals to the senses.

Iambic Pentameter

A line of poetry made up of five iambs.

Internal Rhyme

A rhyme between words in the same line.

Lyric Poem

Poetry that focuses on expressing emotions or thoughts, rather than on telling a story.

Metaphor

A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two seemingly unlike things without using a connective word such as like, as, than, or resembles.

Metaphysical Poetry

A term applied to the poetry of John Donne, Andrew Marvell, and other seventeenth-century poets who wrote in a difficult and abstract style.

Meter

A generally regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry.

Metonymy

A figure of speech in which something closely related to a thing or suggested by it is substituted for the thing itself.

Mood

The atmosphere or feeling in a literary work.

Narrative Poem

A poem that tells a story.

Octave

An eight-line stanza or poem or the first eight lines of an Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet.

Ode

A complex, generally long lyric poem on a serious subject.

Onomatopoeia

The use of a word whose sound imitates or suggests its meaning.

Ottava Rima

An eight-line stanza in iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme abababcc.

Oxymoron

A figure of speech that combines apparently contradictory or incongruous ideas.

Oral Tradition

Stories passed down through generations by word of mouth.

Paradox

An apparent contradiction that is actually true.

Pastoral

A type of literature that depicts country life in idyllic, idealized terms.

Personification

A kind of metaphor in which a nonhuman or nonliving thing or quality is talked about as if it were human or had life.

Quatrain

A four-line stanza or poem or a group of four lines unified by a rhyme scheme.

Refrain

A repeated word, phrase, line, or group of lines.

Rhyme

The repetition of accented vowel sounds and all sounds following them in word that are close together in a poem.

Rhyme Scheme

The pattern of rhymed lines in a poem.

Rhythm

The alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables in language.

Run-On-Line

A line of poetry that does not contain a pause or conclusion at the end, but rather continues on to the next line.

Sestet

A six-line stanza or poem or the last six lines of an Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet.

Simile

A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two seemingly unlike things by using a connective word such as like, than, or resembles.

Sonnet

A fourteen-line lyric poem, usually written in iambic pentameter, that has one of several rhyme schemes.

Sonnet: Petrarchan

This form is the oldest sonnet named after the fourteenth century Italian poet Petrarchan and is divided into an octave and a sestet.

Sonnet: Shakespearean

This form was used by Shakespeare it has three quatrains followed by a couplet.

Sonnet: Spenserian

This form was developed by Edmund Spenser and is divided into three quatrains and a couplet, but uses a rhyme scheme that links the quatrains.

Speaker

The imaginary voice or persona, assumed by the author of a poem.

Spenserian Stanza

A nine-line stanza with the rhyme scheme ababbcbcc.

Stanza

A group of consecutive lines in a poem that form a single unit.

Symbol

A person, place, thing, or event that stands both for itself and for something beyond itself.

Synecdoche

A figure of speech in which a part represents the whole.

Tercet

A triplet, or stanza of three lines, in which each line ends with the same rhyme.

Terza Rima

An interlocking, three-line stanza form with the rhyme scheme aba bcb cdc ded and so on.

Tone

The attitude a writer takes toward the reader, a subject, or a character.

Trochaic

A metrical measurement of one stressed syllable and one unstressed.

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