analyzing and interpreting literature- poetry

dactyl
a metrical foot in poetry that is composed of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed ones.

accentual meter
a meter than is generally seen only in Old English poetry and contains four stressed syllables in one line without regard to the number of unstressed syllables.

Figurative language
refers to the use of figures of speech in poetry and other literature.

denotation
A word’s literal meaning according to the dictionary definition or its common use.

connotation
a word’s levels of meanings that extend beyond the actual definition.

metaphor
the use of figurative language in which two things, emotions, persons, or objects that appear unrelated, are compared without using words such as “as,” “as if,” or “like.”

Extended metaphors or similes
stretch out and/or develop through the course of the poem and may involve a main subject with various comparisons made.

personification
giving human traits or characteristics to non-human objects or referring to the non-human object with personal pronouns (he or she).

imagery
the use of figurative language in order to evoke a certain image in the reader’s mind using the five senses.

literal imagery
in literal imagery, the reader is intended to take the image created by the poet just as it is and isn’t required to alter the image in a major way in order to understand or “see” it.

figurative imagery
With figurative imagery, the reader doesn’t take the image literally but must alter it and examine how exactly the poet intended for the image to be understood or imagined.

symbol
an object or feeling that takes on a meaning larger than itself or comes to represent or stand for something that it is not in and of itself.

stock symbols
objects that commonly represent a certain idea, subject, or feeling

allusion
a poetic device in which a poet indirectly or subtly refers to an often well-known event or object that has actually taken place or existed in a context outside the poem.

Apostrophe
a poetic device in which the speaker directly addresses a person or thing that is not there.

Assonance
a poetic device in which the poet repeats vowel sounds in words that don’t rhyme, usually with the vowel sounds found in the middle of words instead of at the beginning.

Bathos
a poetic device in which the poet intentionally uses unexpected, anticlimactic language in order to bring about humor, create a certain point, or expose deception.

Caesura
a poetic device denoting a pause within a line of poetry that may or may not be marked by punctuation (/) to cause the pause.

conceit
an extended metaphor or other form of comparison between two very unlikely objects.

Consonance
a literary device in which the writer repeats two or more consonant sounds without repeating the vowel sounds.

Enjambment
when a writer intentionally runs lines of poetry together and breaks a thought, phrase, or sentence at the end of the line and carries that thought, phrase, or sentence onto the next line.

Hyperbole
overstated, purposeful exaggeration that is not meant to be taken literally but is used to emphasize strong feelings or make an important point

Metonymy
a figure of speech in which a word is substituted for another word in order to bring to mind or represent an associated idea

Onomatopoeia
a literary device in which a word imitates the sound that it describes.

oxymoron
a figure of speech that joins two contradictory or dissimilar terms

paradox
a statement or situation that seems lead to a contradiction but nonetheless remains true.

pun
a figure of speech involving a play on words for the purpose of humor or serious effect.

sarcasm
verbal irony that is taken too far and mocks a someone or something.

Synecdoche
a figure of speech in which part of something is used to represent or refer to the entire thing, or vice versa.

syntax
the arrangement of words in a certain pattern or structure.

Tone
the attitude or voice of the poem’s speaker.

dramatic monologue
a type of poem that speaks directly to another person in a manner that often resembles a speech; the person who is spoken to doesn’t answer.

Closed form poetry
is easily recognizable or identifiable based on the poem’s major structural elements such as its meter or rhyme scheme.

open form poetry
poems whose form is not easily identifiable or recognizable and may not fall into one specific traditional poetic form.

Sonnets
a type of closed form poetry that contain fourteen lines

petrarchan sonnet’s structure
contains an octave (eight lines) that is followed by a sestet (six lines).

Shakespearean sonnet
structured with three quatrains (four-lined stanzas) and a couplet (two rhyming lines).

couplet
a poetic form containing a two line stanza

Heroic couplets
rhyming pairs of poetic lines written in iambic pentameter that are generally self contained.

alexandrine
a metered poetic line that contains twelve syllables.

epic
literary form that was originally an ancient oral poetic tradition telling of the great deeds of heroes and their struggles and trials but later became dictated into a narrative poem containing a regular metrical pattern and structured into couplets.

Ballads
poems in song form that often contain straightforward themes and tell stories.

Lyrics
a form of poetry that do not tell stories but rather, focus on emotions, feelings, or perceptions, often related to nature.

villanelle
a poetic form originating from poems on court life and love and containing five three-line stanzas (tercets) followed by a four-line stanza (quatrain)

epigram
a type of closed form poetry that is short, concise, and often witty or pessimistic.

limerick
a five-line closed form poem written in anapest meter and containing a rhyme scheme: aabba.

sestina
a closed form poem composed of six six-line stanzas that takes the same six ending words from the first stanza and repeats those end words in the following five stanzas, just in a different order each time.

Drama
a literary form that can include both poetry and prose; includes a plot, characters, and setting; and generally contains a vast amount of dialogue compared to narrative.

Diction
a writer’s word choice.