AP Lit Vocab Words and Examples- Poetry

Iambic pantameter
line of poetry that can be divided into 5 metric ft. of alternatively stressed and unstressed syllables

EX. Sonnets are made up fully of iambic pantameter so any of Shakespeare’s, such as Sonnet #147, would be an example.

Sonnet
14 line poem of iambic pantameter

EX. Sonnets are made up fully of iambic pantameter so any of Shakespeares, such as Sonnet #147, would be an example.

Rhyme scheme
pattern of end rhyme attached to lines of a poem

EX. Rhyme scheme of classic Shakespeare sonnet:
ABAB/CDCD/EFEF/GG

Heroic couplet
2 lines of rhyming iambic pantameter

EX. Since Shakespeare’s rhyming pattern ends with “GG” the end of any of his sonnets would be an example of a heroic couplet such as “For have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,/ Who art as black as hell, as dark as night”- Sonnet #147 by William Shakespeare.

Paradox
Something contradictory but nonetheless true

EX. Poetry itself is a paradox because “it says things that cannot be said”

Metaphorical conceit
a continued metaphor; can occur throughout the entire poem or simply in a couplet, quatrain, etc.
EX. Metaphorical conceit is seen in Sonnet #147 by William Shakespeare when the speaker compares his love to a horrible fever that is so overwhelming and consuming, he can focus on nothing else. “My love is as a fever, longing still/ For that which longer nurseth the disease;”

Enjambment
the continuation of a line to the next without punctuation- makes the reader focus less on structure and more on the words on the page
EX. “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful […]” This line of poetry expressing enjambment is from John Donne’s Holy Sonnet: X.

Slant rhyme
when you twist the pronunciation of the word so that two words may rhyme
EX. “Desiring this man’s art and that man’s cope/ With what I most enjoy contented least” from Sonnet #29 by William Shakespeare

Apostrophe
when the author/persona makes direct addresses to a certain thing/person/etc

ex. “Death be not proud, though some have called the/Mighty and dreadful” is an excerpt from Holy Sonnets: X by John Donne. Here, the speaker is making an explicit reference to Death, who he personifies throughout the sonnet.

speaker
voice of the poem; do NOT mix up the speaker and the poet because they are different.

alliteration
the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.
EX. “twittering tongues” from The Season of Phantasmal Peace by Derek Walcott

assonance
in poetry, the repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in nonrhyming stressed syllables near enough to each other for the echo to be discernible
EX. “We so cool cool and school”

free verse
poetry that does not rhyme or have a regular meter.
EX. Walt Whitman was the champion of free verse poetry

tone
the general character or attitude of a piece of writing
EX. “Then all the nations of birds lifted together/ the huge net of the shadows of this earth/ in multitudinous dialects, twittering tongues” is an excerpt from the poem “The Season of Phantasmal Peace” by Derek Walcott. The tone is awestruck

Elizabethan sonnet
a Shakespearean sonnet
EX. must have ABAB/CDCD/EFEF/GG rhyme scheme

Petrarchan sonnet
any sonnet written before Shakespeare’s time
EX. Petrarch is an example of a poet who wrote Petrarchan sonnets. He was alive 1304-1374.

lyric poem
a lyric poem is usually short and has some type of emotion that the poet is trying to convey
EX. Sonnets are examples of lyric poems, so something like Sonnet #147 by William Shakespeare that conveys obviously frustrated and resentful feelings of one lover to the other.

narrative poem
long, has a story, typically like the epics of the old
EX. Homer’s “The Odyssey”