AP LIT poetry terms

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Lyric Poem
A type of brief poem that expresses personal emotions and thoughts of the speaker; important to realize that the speaker is not necessarily the person even though it is written in the first person
Narrative Poem
A poem that tells a story; may be short or long, and its story may be simple or complex Ex. Homer's The Odyssey
Diction
Writer's choice of words, phrases, sentence structures, and figurative language which combine to help create meaning
Colloquialism
A type of informal diction that reflects casual, conversational language and often includes slang expressions
Denotation
The dictionary meaning of a word
Connotation
Associations or implications that go beyond the literal meaning of a word, which derive from how the word has been commonly used and the associations people make with it.
Persona
Literally, a mask; in literature, the speaker created by a writer to tell a story or to speak in a poem; a persona is not a character in a story, no does the persona necessarily reflect the author's personal voice
Syntax
The ordering of words into meaningful verba patterns, such as phrases, sentences, and clauses; poets often manipulate syntax, changing conventional word order, to place emphasis on certain words
accent
The prominence or emphasis given to a syllable or word: " Is she content with the contents of the package?" Think about the where the accent is for the word "content".
alliteration
The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words: " Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers" "descending dew drops". "Luscious lemons".
assonance
The repetition pr pattern of similar sounds, especially vowel sounds: "as sleep under the tree." Repeats the "ee" sound
ballad
A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain: La Belle Dam sans Merci, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
blank verse
Poetry that is written in unryhmed iambic pentameter (rythem but does not ryhmed) ; Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in blank verse: Macbeth excerpt " Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow; creeps in this pretty pace from day to day; to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools...".
consonance
The repetition of similar consonant sounds, especially at the end of words: home/same, worth/breath, loss/pass, confess/dismiss. These are examples are words that sound similar but are not perfect rhymes
Free Verse
Also called open form poetry, free verse refers to poems characterized by their nonconformity to established patterns of meter, rhyme, and stanza. Free verse uses elements such as speech patterns, grammar, emphasis, and breath pauses to decide line breaks, and usually does not rhyme.
Haiku
A style of lyric poetry borrowed from the Japanese that typically presents an intense emotion or vivid image of nature, which, traditionally, is designed to lead to a spiritual insight. Haiku is a fixed poetic form, consisting of seventeen syllables organized into three unrhymed lines of fivem seven, and five syllables. Today, however, many poets vary the syllabic count in their haiku.
Hyperbole
A boldly exaggerated statement that adds emphasis without intending to be literally true. Hyperbole may be used for serious, comic, or ironic effect.
Iambic Pentameter
A metrical pattern in poetry wich consits of 5 iambic feet per line (iambic foot consisting of one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable)
Limerick
Humorous style of fixed form poetry. Usually consists of 5 lines with an aabbarhyme scheme. Subject ranges from silly to the obscene.
Litotes/understatement
Figure of speech that says less than what is intended. Opposite of hyperbole. Usually has an ironic effect and is sometimes used for comic purposes.
couplet
Consists of two lines that usually rhyme and have the same meter. Shakespearean sonnets often end in a couplet.
elegy
A lyrical poem written to commemorate someone who is dead. The word is also used to refer to a serious meditative poem produced to express the speaker's melancholy thoughts.
epic
A long narrative poem on a serious subject chronicling heroic deeds and important events. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, John Milton's Paradise Lost, Old English Beowulf, and Dante's Divine Comedy are all examples of epics.
epigram
A brief, pointed, and witty poem, often rhyme and are written in couplets.
figure of speech
A way of saying one thing in terms of something else. Example 1: The diner leaped from his table and roared at the waiter. Example 2: And all of our yesterdays have lighted fools/ The way to a dusty death.
foot
The metrical unit by a which a line of poetry is measured. Usually consists of one stressed and one or two unstressed syllables. Examples: away (one stressed and one unstressed), understand (two unstressed and one stressed.)
Euphony
Refers to pleasant sounds that are created by smooth consonant; agreeable sound ex. Ripple, beautiful singing voice
Cacophony
Language that is discordant or difficult to pronounce ex. "never my numb plunker fumbles"- John Updike "peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers"
End Rhyme
The most common form of rhyme in poetry where the rhyme comes at the end of the line ex. It runs through the reeds/ And away it proceeds,/ Through meadows and glade,/ In sun and in shade.
Slant Rhyme
Another term for half- rhyme; a rhyme in which the vowel sounds are not identical ex. Years/ yours; dark/heart I sat in the dark/ nursing my broken heart. Also an example of enjambment (you're welcome)
Caesura
A pause within a line of poerty that contributes the the rhythm of the line; can occur anywhere within the line ex. Know then thyself//,presume no God to scan; /The proper study of Mankind// is Man./ Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,/ A being darkly wise, and rudely great: -Alexander Pope * A caesura usually indicated by the symbol //; as shown in the example
Enjambent/ Run-on line
In poetry when one line ends without a pause and continues into the next line for its meaning; also called a run-on line ex. My heart leaps up when I behold/ A rainbow in the sky- Woodworth
End- stopped rhyme
A poetic line that has a pause at the end; usualy represent normal speech patterns and are often marked by punctuation ex. A thing of beauty is a joy forever- Keat *When viewed in terms of normal conversation this line would have a pause at the end (read just like it is said)
Tercet
A 3-line stanza. When all three lines rhyme, it's a triplet. Ex: This poem contains two tercets: "Whenas in silks my Julia goes\ Then, then, methink, how sweetly flows/ That liquefaction of her clothes./ Next, when I cast mine eyes, and see/ That brace vibration, each way free/ O, how that glittering taketh me."
Quatrain
A stanza or poem of four lines. Ex: This is an example of a quatrain taken from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancienct Mariner"; "All in a hot and copper sky/ The bloody Sun, at noon,/ Right up above the mast did stand,/ No bigger than the moon."
Octave
A poetic stanza of 8 lines, usually forming one part of a sonnet. Ex: Often times the first 8 lines of a sonnet, usually presents a situation, attitude, or problem. Several examples of octaves within sonnets are on pages 753-757 of the Bedford text.
Sestet
A stanza consisting of exactly six lines. Ex: Often times the final 6 lines of a sonnet which comments on or resolves the problem in the octave. Several examples of sestets within sonnets are on pages 753-757 of the Bedford text.
Sonnet
A fixed form of lyric poetry that consists of 14 lines, usually written in iambic pentameter. Ex: "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" by John Keats, also more famously Shakespeare's 127 sonnets including; "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" and "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun". Also notable is William Wordsworth's "The World Is Too Much With Us".
Villanelle
A type of fixed form poetry consisting of 19 lines of any length, divided into six stanzas: five tercets and a concluding quatrain. Ex: "Mad Girl's Love Song" by Sylvia Plath and "Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night" by Dylan Thomas
Sestina
A structured 39-line poem consisting of 6 stanzas of 6 lines each, followed by a 3 line stanza. The word that ends each line of the first stanza are used as line endings in each of the following stanzas. Ex: "Sestina" by Algernon Charles Swinburne and "All-American Sestina"
Parody
A humorous interpretation of another usually serious work, it can take any fixed or open form because parodists imitate the tone, language, or shape of the original work in order to deflate the subject matter, making the original work seem obsurd. Ex: A Visit from St. Sigmund by X.J. Kennedy is a parody of "The Night Before Christmas" as it ridicules psychological treatment practices.
Metaphor
A figure of speech in which two things are compared, usually by saying one thing is another, or by substituting a more descriptive word for the more common or usual word that would be expected. Some examples of metaphors: the world's a stage, he was a lion in battle, drowning in debt, and a sea of troubles.
Meter
The arrangement of a line of poetry by the number of syllables and the rhythm of accented (or stressed) syllables. Ex - Iambic: Shall I compare thee to a summers day (10 syllables) the stressed syllables are capitalized and the feet are separated: [shall-I]-[com-PARE]-[thee-TO]-[a-SUM]-[mer's-DAY]
Ode
A lyric poem that is serious and thoughtful int one and has a very precise, formal structure. John Keat's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" -- THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both, In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Onomatopoeia
A figure of speech in which words are used to imitate sounds. Example- buzz, hiss, zing, clippety-clip and tick-tock are all onomatopoeia. Example- Keat's "Ode to Nightingale"- "The moan of doves in immemorial elms/and murmuring of innumerable bees." The repeated m/n sounds reinforce the idea of murmuring of insects on a warm summer day.
Pentameter
A line of poetry that has five metrical feet. Used in Shakespeare, syllables alternate between stressed and unstressed beats. Example from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" : And I do love thee: therefore, go with me; I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee, And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep, And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep; (Act 3, Scene 1)
Personification
A figure of speech in which things or abstract ideas are given human attributes: dead leaves dance in the wind, blind justice.
Deus ex machina
This refers to a character or force that appears at the end of a story or play to help resolve conflict. The direct translation is god from a machine. In ancient Greek drama, gods were lowered onto the stage by a mechanism to extricate characters from a seemingly hopeless situation. The phrase has come to mean any turn of events that solve the character's problems through an unexpected and unlikely intervention. An example of this is in the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Harry is in the chamber of secrets and the sword is dropped by the phoenix who cries on him and saves his life.
Dramatic Monologue
A type of poem in which a character, the speaker, addresses a silent audience in such a way as to reveal, unintentionally, some aspects of his/her personality or temperament
Allusion
A brief reference to a person, place, thing, event, or idea in history or literature.
Image/Imagery
language that addresses the senses
Simile
Makes an explicit comparison between two things by using words such as "like, as, than, appears, seems."
Pun
A play on words that relies on a word having more than one meaning or sounding like another word.
Synecdoche
Figure of speech in which part of something is used to signify the whole.
Metonymy
Figure of speech in which something closely associated with the subject is substituted for it.
Rhyme
When the final consonant or vowel sound in two or more words are the same or similar
Stanza
A division/unit of a poem that is repeated in the same form. Stanzas have similar or identical patterns in rhyme or meter, or stanzas can vary from one to the next
Tetrameter
A line of verse consisting of four metratical feet
Refrain
A phrase, line, or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem, usually after each stanza
Romanticism
Artistic movement of the 1700s. Emphasis in such poetry is placed on the personal experiences of the individual. From a technical standpoint, they moved poetry into a more simplistic, symbolic and more free-form style.
Stress
A stress places more emphasis on one syllable than on another. We say SYLlable not syllABle, EMphasis not emPHAsis
Apostrophe
Poem which is directly addressed to a person or thing (often absent). "Oh Death, where is thy sting?"
Paradox
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth. "This is the beginning of the end" -Paradox because beginning and end contradict each other but it also is true for certain situations.
Oxymoron
Figure of speech containing two seemingly contradictory expressions. "Sweet sorrow" "Silent scream" "Walking dead" -Type of paradox that uses two contradictory words used to make a statement more powerful. Mr. Nabors' favorite oxymoron: "down escalator." How is this possible?
Verbal Irony
irony in which a person says or writes one thing and means another, or uses words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of the literal meaning. "Two households, both alike in dignity,..." Prologue from Act I of Romeo and Juliet. One may think that they are dignified, but as the play goes on we learn that they are anything but. From Shrek; Donkey: "Can I stay with you?" Shrek: "Sure" Donkey: "Really?" Shrek: "No." Sarcasm is a widely used example of verbal irony.
Dramatic Irony
irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play. Macbeth appears to be loyal to Duncan but he is actually planning on killing him. So the audience knows what he is plotting but Duncan does not.
Situational Irony
Irony involving a situation in which actions have an effect that is opposite from what was intended, so that the outcome is contrary to what was expected. A person who claims to be vegan but will eat a slice of pepperoni pizza because they are hungry. What if--hypothetically--Mr. VanDell were pulled over for speeding in a school zone? That would be oddly funny because in that specific situation, the last person you'd expect to find himself in this predicament would be the driver's education teacher.
Anaphora
The deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive verses, clauses, or paragraphs "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets" (Winston Churchill)
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