Oly AP English Literature: Poetry

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Poetry Terms for Mrs. Madsen's Olympia High School's AP English 12 Literature


use of the same sound at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse


the repetition of similar vowels in the stressed syllables of successive words (e.g. lake and fate; trodden and cobbles)

blank verse

unrhymed verse (usually in iambic pentameter)


use of words and phrases that imply strong, unpleasant sounds


the accent in a metrical foot of verse or prose


a break or pause (usually for sense) in the middle of a verse line


simile or metaphor comparing two seemingly dissimilar things


an idea that is implied or suggested


the repetition of consonants (or consonant patterns) especially at the ends of words, but the vowels are usually different (car and cur or add and odd)

controlling image

an image or metaphor that runs throughout and determines the form or nature of a literary work


a stanza consisting of two successive lines of verse


a mournful poem that is usually short, a song or hymn of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person


use of discordant sounds to either create unpleasant effect or create an interesting variation from what is rhythmically correct

dramatic monologue

a poem in which a speaker addresses a silent listener


a mournful poem that is usually long

end-stopped line

when poetry contains a pause in meaning (thus in reading) at the end of a line or a couplet; often marked by punctuation but not always


the continuation of a syntactic unit from one line of verse into the next line without a pause


a long narrative poem telling of a hero's deeds


any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sounds


basis of meter, regular unit of meter when repeated, makes up a verse

free verse

unrhymed verse without a consistent metrical pattern


a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables


representation of a sensory experience


the ability to form mental images of things or events

in medias res

"into the middle of things" beginning a narrative well along in a sequence of events; supplying information through flashbacks about the beginning


a brief, personal poem that is especially musical and filled with emotion; sonnets, odes, and elegies are types of lyrics


rhythmic pattern of a poem


a rhythmic group of eight lines of verse


a poem usually addressed to a particular person, object or event that has stimulated deep and noble feelings in the poet


a verse line having five metrical feet


the speaker, voice, or character assumed by the author of a piece of writing


a stanza or group of four lines of poetry


a regularly repeated line or group of lines in a poem or song


the repeated use of the same word or word pattern as a rhetorical device


be similar in sound, especially with respect to the last syllable

end rhyme

rhyme that occurs at the end of two or more lines of poetry

external rhyme

two words that rhyme at the ends of separate lines

feminine rhyme

occurs when the rhyme ends on an unstressed syllable (i.e. "calling" and "falling")

internal rhyme

a rhyme between words in the same line

masculine rhyme

occurs when the rhyme ends on an stressed syllable (i.e. fan and ran)


analysis of verse into metrical patterns


group of six lines of poetry


a verse form consisting of 14 lines with a fixed rhyme scheme

English sonnet

a sonnet consisting three quatrains and a concluding couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern: abab cdcd efef gg

Italian sonnet

a sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba, followed by a sestet with the rhyme pattern: cdecde or cdcdcd


a fixed number of lines of verse forming a unit of a poem


the relative prominence of a syllable or musical note (especially with regard to stress or pitch)


a metrical unit with stressed-stressed-unstressed syllables


the turn in thought from question to answer, from instance to application, from problem to solution, that occurs towards the end of the sonnet


passing reference or indirect mention


address to an absent or imaginary person


an inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive


a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor


understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary)


a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity


using words that imitate the sound they denote


the act of attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas etc.


a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with 'like' or 'as')


something that stands for something else


Uses a part to explain a whole or a whole to explain a part. ex. Lend me an ear.


a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said

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