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poetic techniques

tools of the poet's trade

figurative language

a use of language that gives more meaning a depth; not literal

overlapping meanings

definitions can sometimes overlap


the dictionary meaning of a word


a second meaning; the implied or associative meaning of a word


representation of sensory experiences through language; words that create mental images in the mind of the reader


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


the repetition of similar vowels in the stressed syllables of successive words


something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible; something that stands for more than what it is


a reference to another work of literature, person, or event


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


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


a comparison between two unlike objects without using like or as


words that sound like what they mean


conjoining contradictory terms (as in 'deafening silence')


a figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes


excessive emotions


the opposite of exaggeration: It is a technique for developing irony and/or humor where one writes or says less than intended.

musical devices

variations of emphasis and sound qualities to give musical flow to words


a way of placing emphasis on words and symbols that create a repetive rhythm


similar in sound


recurring at regular intervals


a metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables


a metrical unit with stressed-stressed-unstressed syllables


metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed-stressed syllables

metrical foot

a group of 2 or 3 syllables forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm noun


the emotional coloring of a piece of work


an expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up


witty language used to convey insults or scorn
Ex. "he used sarcasm to upset his opponent"; "irony is wasted on the stupid"; "Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own"--


substitution of an inoffensive term for one that is offensive


drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect
Ex. "the operation of a computer presents and interesting analogy to the working of the brain"; "the models show by analogy how matter is built up"


the use of hints and clues to suggest what will happen later in a plot


scene that interrupts the normal chronological sequence of events in a story to depict something that happened at an earlier time

verbal irony

a figure of speech in which what is said is the opposite of what is meant

situational irony

occurs when the outcome of a work is unexpected, or events turn out to be the opposite from what one had expected

dramatic irony

when a reader is aware of something that a character isn't


not loud, bright, noticeable or obvious in any way


inconsistencies; things that don't seem to go together

iambic pentameter

a line of poet verse consisting of ten syllables group into five iamb.


a four line stanza; a grouping of four lines


a six line stanza; a grouping of six lines


a eight line stanza; a grouping of eight lines

rhyme scheme

a regular pattern of rhyming words in a poem


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


a two line stanza


substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself (as in 'they counted heads')


a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part


(in poetry) extravagant metaphor; a fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor

internal rhyme

rhyme within a line

slant rhyme

rhyme in which the vowel sounds are nearly, but not exactly the same (i.e. the words "stress" and "kiss"); sometimes called half-rhyme, near rhyme, or partial rhyme

end rhyme

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


a narrative song with a recurrent refrain


a mournful poem, esp. one lamenting the dead


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


phrases or sentences of a similar construction/meaning placed side by side, balancing each other

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