poetry terms

abstract poetry
a poem in which the words are chosen for their aural quality rather than specifically for their sense or meaning
ex. "Popular Song"
[The red retriever-haired satyr
Can whine and tease her and flatter,
But Lily O'Grady,
Silly and shady,
In the deep shade is a lazy lady;
Now Pompey's dead, Homer's read,
Heliogabalus lost his head,
And shade is on the brightest wing,
And dust forbids the bird to sing.]
anything that is stressed or emphasized (metrical accent - pattern of stressed syllables in poetry)
ex. iambic pentameter
symbolic narrative with surface details that have a secondary meaning
ex. Animal Farm
repetition of consonant sounds usually at the beginning of words
ex. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
direct or indirect reference within a literary work to a well-known thing, idea, person, or event
ex. Bueller? Bueller?
anything in a work of literature, drama, or art that does not belong in the time setting
ex. clock in Julius Caesar
giving human characteristics to nonhuman objects
(different from personification because it makes the object behave and act like a human being)
ex. Beauty and the Beast, all the people turned into objects
a figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or a personified abstraction, such as liberty or love
ex. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
approximate rhyme
two types of approximate rhyme:
consonance - the final consonants in the accented syllables of two words are the same but the preceding vowels differ
ex. shape and keep
assonance - the vowels in two words sound the same but the consonants after each are variations of the same consonant sound
ex. loose and lose
repetition of similar vowel sounds
ex. engineer and steer
narrative poem written in four-line stanzas, characterized by swift action and narrated in a direct style
ex. "Tam Lin"
['O I forbid you, maiden all,
That wears gold in your hair,
To come or go by Carterhaugh
For young Tam Lin is there.]
blank verse
poetry or prose in unrhymed iambic pentameter
ex. "Mending Walls"
[Something there is that doesn't love a wall.
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun]
the use of words with sharp, harsh, hissing and unmelodious sounds primarily those of consonants to achieve desired results
ex. "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There"
['Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,an
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!]
a strong pause within a line of verse
ex. "The Winter Tales"
[It is for you we speak, || not for ourselves]
carpe diem poetry
Latin phrase that translates into English as "seize the day"; poems typically fall into a few major categories - advice, entreaties, and encouragement
ex. "A Psalm of Life"
[Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;]
a verse of five lines that do not rhyme, syllable pattern 2-4-6-8-2
ex. "Snow"
[Look up...
From bleakening hills
Blows down the light, first breath
Of wintry wind...look up, and scent
The snow!]
closed form poetry
type of form or structure in poetry characterized by regularity and consistency in such elements as rhyme, line length, and metrical pattern
ex. limericks, sonnets, haikus, etc.
a fanciful expression, usually in the form of an extended metaphor or surprising analogy between seemingly dissimilar objects
ex. "Romeo and Juliet"
["Thou counterfeit'st a bark, a sea, a wind;
For still thy eyes, which I may call the sea,
Do ebb and flow with tears; the bark thy body is,
Sailing in this salt flood; the winds, thy sighs;
Who, raging with thy tears, and they with them,
Without a sudden calm, will overset
Thy tempest-tossed body."]
concrete poetry
a poem whose meaning is conveyed through its graphic shape or pattern on the printed page
"Half of a Heart"

fill please
in you
my would

Half of my heart is not well
Please cup your hand to complete it..
the nonliteral, associative meaning of a word; the implied, suggested meaning
ex. dove - peace
repetitive sounds produced by consonants within a sentence or phrase
ex. pitter patter
a pair of rhymed lines that may or may not constitute a separate stanza in a poem
ex. "You still shall live, such virtue hath my pen,
Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men."
the dictionary meaning of a word
ex. dove - type of pigeon
style of speaking or writing determined by the choice of words by a speaker or a writer
ex. "The Sun Rising"
[Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch]
lyric poem that laments the dead
ex. "In Memory of W. B. Yeats"
[With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise]
end stopped line
when a pause comes at the end of a syntactic unit (sentence, clause or phrase)
ex. colon, semi-colon, period or full stop
a run-on line of poetry in which logical and grammatical sense carries over from one line into the next
ex. "The Winter's Tale"
[I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
That honorable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown....]
a long narrative poem that records the adventures of a hero; typically chronicle the origins of a civilization and embody its central values
ex. The Odyssey
eye rhyme
a similarity between words in spelling but not in pronunciation
ex. love and move
feminine rhyme
more than one syllable is rhymed at the end of a line
ex. pleasure and measure
figurative language
writing or speech that is not intended to carry literal meaning and is usually meant to be imaginative and vivid
ex. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"
[But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill...
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom]
metrical unit composed of stressed and unstressed syllables
ex. an iamb or iambic foot is represented by ˘' (an unaccented syllable followed by an accented one)
free verse
poetry without a regular pattern of meter or rhyme
ex. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
figure of speech involving exaggeration
ex. she cried a river of tears
an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one
ex. to-DAY
auditory: pertains to sounds, noises, music, or the sense of hearing
ex. screaming, shouting
gustatory: pertains to flavors or the sense of taste
ex. juicy, sweet
olfactory: pertains to odors, scents, or the sense of smell
ex. whiff, aroma
tactile: relates to the sense of touch
ex. soft, rough
visual: creates visual representation of ideas in our minds; mental pictures
ex. dark, dim
internal rhyme
rhyme that occurs within a single line of verse, or between internal phrases across multiple lines
ex. "The Raven"
[Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door.....]
the normal order of words is reversed in order to achieve a particular effect of emphasis or meter
ex. placing an adjective after the noun it qualifies (the soldier strong)
placing a verb before its subject (shouts the policeman)
placing a noun before its preposition (worlds between)
a contrast or discrepancy between what is said and what is meant (verbal) or between what happens and what is expected to happen (situational)
ex. Julius Caesar is dramatic irony because the audience knows he's going to be stabbed but he doesn't
literal language
the use of words solely by their defined or primary meanings
ex. grass looks green
lyric poetry
expresses personal emotions or thoughts of the speaker, has a musical quality
ex. songs on the radio, sonnets, elegies
masculine rhyme
single-syllable rhyme at the very end of a line
ex. plane and explain
comparison between essentially unlike things without an explicitly comparative word such as like or as
ex. my love is a red, red rose
the measured pattern of rhythmic accents in poems
ex. iambic meter
figure of speech in which a closely related term is substituted for an object or idea
ex. we have always remained loyal to the crown
narrative poetry
poem that tells a story, often makes use of the voices of a narrator and characters
ex. "The Raven"
an eight-line unit, which may constitute a stanza; or a section of a poem, as in the octave of a sonnet
ex. Milton's Sonnet 16
open form poetry
type of structure or form in poetry characterized by freedom from regularity and consistency in such elements as rhyme, line length, metrical pattern, and overall poetic structure
ex. ghazal, acrostic
form of lyric poetry that praises people, natural scenes, or abstract ideas
ex. Pindar, Horatian, and Irregular
use of words to imitate the sounds they describe
ex. buzz or crack
a statement that appears to be self-contradictory or opposed to common sense but upon closer inspection contains some degree of truth or validity
ex. I am nobody
rewording or restating the original source in different words, keeping the length or word count almost the same
ex. explaining a poem's meaning
very ancient genre of poetry, deals with the loves and lives of shepherds and shepherdesses, and other such country folk
ex. live far from towns, spend lives singing, mourn the loss of a sheep or a fellow shepherd or a love affair that has gone wrong
the endowment of inanimate objects or abstract concepts with animate or living qualities
ex. the fence grinned
Petrarchan sonnet
the Petrarchan or Italian sonnet divides into two parts: an eight-line octave and a six-line sestet, rhyming abba abba cde cde or abba abba cd cd cd
ex. "Visions" by Francesco Petrarch
a play on words in which a humorous effect is produced by using a word that suggests two or more meanings or by exploiting similar sounding words having different meanings
ex. Why do we still have troops in Germany? To keep the Russians in Czech
a four-line stanza in a poem
ex. ballad stanza, envelope stanza, etc.
a verse, a line, a set, or a group of some lines that appears at the end of stanza, or appears where a poem divides into different sections
ex. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"
[Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light...
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.]
the matching of final vowel or consonant sounds in two or more words
ex. After being at work for the entire day,
I got to go home with lots of pay
the recurrence of accent or stress in lines of verse
ex. iamb, trochee, spondee, dactyl, anapest
to divide the poetry or a poetic form into feet by pointing out different syllables based on their lengths (scanning)
ex. accents, syllables, and meter identification
a six-line unit of verse constituting a stanza or section of a poem
ex. "When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be"
[And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!-then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.]
a figure of speech involving a comparison between unlike things using like, as, or as though
ex. my love is like a red, red rose
a fourteen-line poem in iambic pentameter
ex. Italian, Shakespearean, etc.
Shakespearean sonnet
the Shakespearean or English sonnet is arranged as three quatrains and a final couplet, rhyming abab cdcd efef gg
ex. "Sonnet I"
[From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thy self thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel:
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender churl, mak'st waste in niggarding:
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.]
a division or unit of a poem that is repeated in the same form--either with similar or identical patterns or rhyme and meter, or with variations from one stanza to another
ex. couplet, tercet, quatrain, etc.
an object or action in a literary work that means more than itself, that stands for something beyond itself
ex. the road in "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost
a figure of speech in which a part is substituted for the whole
ex. lend me a hand
the idea of a literary work abstracted from its details of language, character, and action, and cast in the form of a generalization
ex. love, friendship, regret
the implied attitude of a writer toward the subject and characters of a work
ex. angry, enthusiastic, mournful