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Updated: January 12, 2010


the prominence or emphasis given to a syllable or word. (stress on the first syllable)


a line of poetry that has 12 syllables


the repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words. (tounge twisters)


a metrical foot of three syllables, two short (or unstressed) followed by one long (or stressed). reverse of the dactyl


a figure of speech in which words and phrases with opposite meanings are balanced against each other. "To ere is human, to forgive, divine"


words that are spoken to a person who is absent or imaginary, or to an object or abstract idea. "Oh world, I cannot hold thee close enough!"


the repetition or a patter of similar sounds, especially vowel sounds, as in the tounge twister "Moses supposes his toeses are roses"


a poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain


a type of poem, usually with three stanzas of seven, eight, or ten lines and a shorter final stanza (or envoy) of four or five lines.

blank verse

poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter.


a natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line. "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."


a medieval Italian lyric poem, with five or six stanzas and a shorter concluding ENVOY.

carpe diem

a Latin expression that means "seize the day." these poems urge the reader to live for today and enjoy the pleasures of the moment.

chanson de geste

an epic poem of the 11th to the 14th century, written in Old French, which details the exploits of a historical or lengendary figure


the principles and ideals of beauty that are characteristic of Greek and Roman art, architecture, and literature. (characterized by their formality, simplicity, and emotional restraint)


a fanciful poetic image or metaphoire that likens one thing to something else that is seemingly very different ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?")


The repition of similar consonant sounds, especially at the ends of words, as in lost and past or confess and dismiss


a pair of lines that are the same length and usually rhyme and form a complete thought (Shakespearean sonnets usually end in this)


a meterical foot of three syllables, one long (or stressed) followed by two short (or unstressed), as in happily. Reverse of anapest


a poem that laments the death of a person, or one that is simply sad and thoughtful.


the continuation of a complete idea (a sentence or clause) from one line or couplet of a poem to the net line or couplet without a pause


the shorter final stanza of a poem, as in a ballade


a long, serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure. (the Odyssey)


a very short, witty poem


a poem in honor of a bride and a bridegroom

feminine rhyme

a rhyme that occurs in a final unstressed syllable; pleasure/leisure, longing/yearning

figure of speech

a verbal expression in which words or sounds are arranged in a particular way to achieve a particular effect. (alliteration, antithesis, assonance, hyperbole, litotes, metaphore, metonymy, etc.)


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

free verse

poetry composed of either rhymed or unrhymed lines that have no set meter


a Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. (often reflect on some aspect of nature)


a line of poetry that has seven metrical feet

heroic couplet

a stanza composed of two rhymed lines in iambic pentameter


a line of poetry that has six metrical feet


a figure of speech in which deliberate exaggeration is used for emphasis (tons of money, waiting for ages, a flood of tears, etc.) opposite of litotes


a metrical foot of two syllables, one short and one long. "come live/ with me/ and be/ my love" four ___ are in the line

iambic pentameter

a type of meter in poetry, in which there are five iambs to a line. (Shakespeare's plays were written mostly in iambic pentameter) "But soft!/ what light/ through yon/ der win/dow breaks?"


either a short poem depicting a peaceful, idealized country scene, or a long poem that tells a story about heroic deeds or extradordinary events set in the distant past


a long narrative poem, especially one that was sung by medieval minstrells called trouveres


a light, humorus poem of five usually anapestic lines with the rhyme scheme of aabba


a figure of speech in which a positive is stated by negating its opposite. (no small victory, not a bad idea, not unhappy) -form of understatement, opposite of hyperbole


a poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet

masculine rhyme

a rhyme that occurs in final stressed syllable: cat/hat, desire/fire, observe/deserve


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


the arrangement of a line of poetry by the number of syllables and the rhythm of accented syllables


a figure of speech in which one word is substituted for another in which it is closely associated. (The pen is mightier than the sword, the word pen is used for "the written word" and the sword is used for "miliary power.")


telling a story, ballads, epics, and lays are different kinds of narrative poems


a lyric poem that is serious and thoughtful in tone and has a very precise, formal structure.


a figure of speech in which words are sued to imitated sounds (tick-tock, pop, splat, clippety-clop)

ottava rima

a type of poetry consisting of 10- or 11-syllable lines arranged in 8-line "octaves" with the rhyme scheme AbAbAbCC


a poem that depicts rural life in a peaceful, idealized way


a line of poetry that has five metrical feet


a figure of speech in which nonhuman things or abstract ideas are given human attributes (the sky is crying, dead leaves danced in the wind, blind justice)


a type of literature that is written in meter


a stanza or poem of four lines


a phrase, line, or group of lines that is represented throughout the poem, usually after every stanza


the occurence of the same or similar sounds a tthe end of two or more words. ___ occurs in final stressed syllable (masculine; occurs in final unstressed syllable (feminine)

rhyme royal

a type of poetry consisting of stanzas of seven lines in iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme of AbAbbCC


the principles and ideals ofthe Romantic movement in literature and the arts during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. ---was the reaction to classicism, favored feeling over reason, and placed great emphasis on the subjective, or personal, experience of the individual


the analysis of a poem's meter. this is usually done by marking the stressed and unstressed syllables in each line and then, based on the pattern of stresses, diving the line into feet


a short Japanese poem that is similar to a haiku in structure but treats human beings rather than nature, often in a humorous or satiric way


a figure of speech in which two things are compared using the words "like" or "as"


a lyric poem that is 14 lines long. English (or Shakespearean) are composed of three quatrains and a final couplet - AbAb CdCd EfEf gg)


a metrical foot of two syllables, both of which are long (or stressed)


two or more lines of poetry that together form one of the divisions of a poem


the prominence or emphasis given to particular syllables.


a figure of speech in which a part is used to designate the whole or the whole is used to designate a part. (all hands on deck - means all men down; the US beat Russia in the final game - means teams)


a Japanese poem of five lines, the first and third composed of five syllables and the rest of seven

terza rima

a type of poetry consisting of 10- or 11-syllable lines arranged in three-line "tercets" with the rhyme scheme AbA bCb cDc, etc.


a line of poetry that has four metrical feet


a metrical foot of two syllables, one long and one short.


a figure of speech, such as a metaphor or metonymy, in which words are not used in their literal sense but in a figurative sense


a single metrical line of poetry, or poetry in general (as apposed to prose)


the system of rhyme and meter in poetry

olfactory imagery

sensory representation of a smell

gustatory imagery

sensory representation of a taste

tactile imagery

sensory representation of touch: hardness, softness, wetness, etc.

organic imagery

internal sensation, hunger, thirst, fatigue, nausea

kinesthetic imagery

sensory movement, physical tension


melodic device of harsh, guttural "d" "t " "k"'s


melodic device of hushed, pleasing "m" "l" "s" 's

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