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Poetry Terms:. A Shared Lexicon for Poetry Exploration. What are “poetry terms”?. Poetry terms are words we use to explore poetry. If we know the terms and can apply them to poems, we can share discussions with other poetry critics. Alliteration Assonance Consonance Iambic Pentameter - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Poetry Terms:A Shared Lexicon for Poetry Exploration

  • What are poetry terms? Poetry terms are words we use to explore poetry. If we know the terms and can apply them to poems, we can share discussions with other poetry critics.

  • Sound DevicesAlliterationAssonanceConsonanceIambic PentameterMeterOnomatopeiaCacophony

    Blank Verse Free VerseRepetitionRefrainEuphonyCaesura

  • AlliterationThe repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words for effect. Example:What would the world be, once bereft/Of wet and wildness? (Gerard Manley Hopkins, Inversnaid)

  • AssonanceThe repetition or a pattern of similar vowel sounds for effect.Example: Thou still unravished bride of quietness,/Thou foster child of silence and slow time (Ode to a Grecian Urn, John Keats)

  • ConsonanceThe repetition of similar consonant sounds, especially at the ends of words, as in lost and past or confess and dismiss.

    Tip Think of the word consonant when you try to remember what consonance means.

  • Iambic PentameterA type of meter in poetry, in which there are five iambs to a line. (The prefix penta- means five, as in pentagon, a geometrical figure with five sides. Meter refers to rhythmic units. In a line of iambic pentameter, there are five rhythmic units that are iambs.) Shakespeare's plays were written mostly in iambic pentameter, which is the most common type of meter in English poetry. An example of an iambic pentameter line from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is But soft!/ What light/ through yon/der win/dow breaks? Another, from Richard III, is A horse!/ A horse!/ My king/dom for/ a horse! (The stressed syllables are in bold.)

  • RhythmRhythm is a musical quality produced by the repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables. Rhythm occurs in all forms of language, both written and spoken, but is particularly important in poetry.

  • MeterThe arrangement of a line of poetry by the number of syllables and the rhythm of accented (or stressed) syllables.

  • Blank VersePoetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in blank verse.

    Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.

  • Free VersePoetry composed of either rhymed or unrhymed lines that have no set meter.

  • RepetitionRepetition is perhaps the most basic idea in poetics. There are all sorts of repetition: the repetition of rhythmic elements (meter); the repetition of sounds (rhyme, etc.); the repetition of syntactic elements (often a lineation device in open form); the repetition of stanzas, and so on.

  • RefrainA line or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem, usually after every stanza.

    Example:I will not eat green eggs and ham.I will not eat them Sam I Am.(Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham)

  • OnomatopoeiaA figure of speech in which words are used to imitate sounds. Examples of onomatopoetic words are buzz, hiss, zing, clippety-clop, and tick-tock. Keats's Ode to a Nightingale not only uses onomatopoeia, but calls our attention to it: Forlorn! The very word is like a bell/To toll me back from thee to my sole self!

  • CacophonyThe use of harsh or discordant sounds in literary composition, as for poetic effect.Example:Player Piano My stick fingers click with a snicker And, chuckling, they knuckle the keys;Light footed, my steel feelers flicker And pluck from these keys melodies.

  • EuphonyAttempting to group words together harmoniously, so that the consonants permit an easy and pleasing flow of sound when spoken, as opposed to cacophony.

    Example of Euphony in a Poem - ExcerptTo Autumn by John KeatsSeason of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run

  • CaesuraA natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line. There is a caesura right after the question mark in the first line of this sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

  • RhymeRhyme is the occurrence of the same or similar sounds at the end of two or more words. When the rhyme occurs in a final stressed syllable, it is said to be masculine: cat/hat, desire/fire, observe/deserve. When the rhyme occurs in a final unstressed syllable, it is said to be feminine: longing/yearning. The pattern of rhyme in a stanza or poem is shown usually by using a different letter for each final sound. In a poem with an aabba rhyme scheme, the first, second, and fifth lines end in one sound, and the third and fourth lines end in another.

  • Types of RhymeSlant/ApproximateA slant rhyme differs from a perfect rhyme in that not all of its vowel or consonant sounds match those of the rhyming word.

    InternalIn poetry, internal rhyme, or middle rhyme, is rhyme which occurs in a single line of verse.

  • Figurative LanguageSimileMetaphorPersonificationApostropheHyperbole

  • SimileA figure of speech in which two things are compared using the word like or as. An example of a simile using like occurs in Langston Hughes's poem Harlem: What happens to a dream deferred?/ Does it dry up/ like a raisin in the sun?

  • MetaphorA 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.

  • Types of MetaphorsImpliedAn implied or unstated metaphor is a metaphor not explicitly stated or obvious that compares two things by using adjectives that commonly describe one thing, but are used to describe another comparing the two. An example: "Golden baked skin", comparing bakery goods to skin or "green blades of nausea", comparing green grass to the pallor of a nausea-stic person or "leafy golden sunset" comparing the sunset to a tree in the fall.

  • Types of MetaphorsExtendedAn extended metaphor is one where there is a single main subject to which additional subjects and metaphors are applied.The extended metaphor may act as a central theme, for example where it is used as the primary vehicle of a poem and is used repeatedly and in different forms.ExampleHe is the pointing gun, we are the bullets of his desire.All the world's a stage and men and women merely players. Let me count my loves of thee, my rose garden, my heart, my fixed mark, my beginning and my end.

  • PersonificationA figure of speech in which things or abstract ideas are given human attributes: dead leaves dance in the wind, blind justice.

  • ApostropheWords that are spoken to a person who is absent or imaginary, or to an object or abstract idea. The poem God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay begins with an apostrophe: O World, I cannot hold thee close enough!/Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!/Thy mists that roll and rise!

  • HyperboleA figure of speech in which deliberate exaggeration is used for emphasis. Many everyday expressions are examples of hyperbole: tons of money, waiting for ages, a flood of tears, etc.

  • Poetic FormsAlliterative verseSonnetElegyBalladOdePastoralEpicHaiku

  • Alliterative VerseA form of verse that uses alliteration as the principal structuring device to unify lines of poetry, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme.

    Example: Now the news. Night raids on Five cities. Fires started. Pressure applied by pincer movement In threatening thrust. Third Division Enlarges beachhead. Lucky charm Saves sniper. Sabotage hinted In steel-mill stoppage. . . .

  • SonnetThe term "sonnet" derives from the Occitan word sonet and the Italian word sonetto, both meaning "little song." By the thirteenth century, it had come to signify a poem of fourteen lines that follows a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure. The conventions associated with the sonnet have evolved over its history. The writers of sonnets are sometimes referred to as "sonneteers," although the term can be used derisively. Many modern writers of sonnets choose simply to be called "sonnet writers." One of the most well known sonnet writers is Shakespeare, who wrote 154 sonnets.

  • ElegyThe term "elegy" was originally used for a type of poetic metre (Elegiac metre), but is also used for a poem of mourning, from the Greek elegos, a reflection on the death of someone or on a sorrow generally - which is a form of lyric poetry. An elegy can also reflect on something which seems strange or mysterious to the author. In addition, an elegy (sometimes spelled elege) may be a type of musical work, usually in a sad and somber attitude. It is not to be confused with a eulogy.

  • BalladA ballad is usually set to music; thus, it often is a story told in a song. Any myth form may be told as a ballad, such as historical accounts or fairy tales in verse form. It usually has foreshortened, alternating four-stress lines ("ballad meter") and simple repeating rhymes, often with a refrain.

  • OdeOde is a form of stately and elaborate lyrical verse. A classic ode is structured in three parts: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode. Different forms such as the homostrophic ode and the irregular ode also exist.

  • PastoralA poem that depicts rural life in a peaceful, idealized way.

  • EpicA long, serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure. Two of the most famous epic poems are the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer, which tell about the Trojan War and the adventures of Odysseus on his voyage home after the war. This year we read Beowulf, a famous epic poem from the Anglo-Saxon period.