Condensed List of Literary Terms for Poetry Unit II

the repetition of two or more consonant sounds in successive words in a line of verse or prose. Alliteration can be used at the beginning of words (“cool cats”-initial alliteration) or internally on stressed syllables (“In kitchen cups concupiscent curds”-which combines initial and internal alliteration). Alliteration was a central feature of Anglo-Saxon peotry and is still used in contemporary writers.

repeating the same word or words at the beginnings of two or more lines.

ExAMPLE: for everything there is a season…

a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.

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The repetition of two or more vowel sounds in successive words, which creates a kind of rhyme. Like alliteration, the assonance may occur initially (“all the awful auguries) or internally (“white lilacs”).

repetition of inner or end (as opposed to alliteration, the repetition of beginning consanant sounds) consonant sounds, also called near or slant rime if the words appear at the end of lines, as in beauty and country

Near or slant rime
A rhyme in which the final consonant sounds are the same but the vowel sounds are different, as in letter and litter, bone and bean.

harsh, jarring sounds; the opposite of assonance

The harmonious effect when the sounds of the words connect with the meaning in a way pleasing to the ear and mind. An example is found in Tennyson’s lines, “The moan of doves in immemorial elms. The opposite of euphony is cacophony.

Blank verse
The most common and well known meter of unrhymed poetry in English.

Blank verse contains five iambic feet per line and is never rhymed. Many literary works have been written in blank verse, including Ulysses and The Mending Wall. Shakespeare’s plays are written primarily in blank verse.

a pause within a line of verse. Traditionally, caesuras appear near the middle of a line, but their placement may be varied to create expressive rhythmic effects. A caesura will usually occur at a mark of punctuation, but there can be a caesura even if no punctuation is present.

(aka “run-on line”). A line of verse that does not end in punctuation or pause, but carries on grammatically to the next line.

Lines that are emjambed seem flowing and lyrical, or sometimes breathless and hasty.

The unit of measurement in metrical poetry. Different meters are identified by the pattern and order of stressed and unstressed syllables in their foot, usually containing two or three syllables, with one syllable accented.

Free verse
From the French vers libre. Free verses describes poetry that organizes its lines without meter. It may be rhymed (as in some poems by H.D.), but it usually is not.

There is no one means of organizing free verse, and different authors have used irreconcilable systems. What unites the two approaches is a freedom from metrical regularity.

A metrical foot in verse in which an unaccented syllable is followed by an accented on, as in caress, or a cat. The iambic measure is the most common meter used in English poetry.

A recurrent, regular, rhythmic pattern in verse. When stresses recur at fixed intervals, the result is meter.

Traditionally, meter has been the basic organizational device of world poetry. There are many existing meters, each identified by the different patterns of recurring sounds. In English most common meters involve the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables.

A literary device that attempts to represent a thing or action by the word that imitates the sound associated with it. crash,b ang

Two or more words that contain an identical or similar vowel sound, usually accented, with following consonant sounds (if any) identical as well.

End rhyme
Rhyme that occurs at the end of lines, rather than within them (as internal rhyme does). End rhyme is the most common kind of rhyme in English language poetry.

A rhyme of two or more syllables with a stress on a syllable other than the last, as in turtle and fertile.

Rhyme that occurs within a line of poetry, as opposed to end rhyme. Chieftain Iffucan of Azcan in caftan

Either a rhyme of one syllable words (as in fox and socks) or-in polysyllabic words-a rhyme on the stressed final syllables: contrive and survive

Rhyme Scheme
Any recurrent pattern of rhyme within an individual poem or fixed form. A rhyme scheme is usually described by using small letters to represent each end rhyme-a for the first rhyme, b for the second, and so on.

The rhyme scheme of a stanza of common meter or hymn meter, for example, would be notated as abab.

The pattern of stresses and pauses in a poem. A fixed and recurring rhythm in a poem is called meter.

A practice used to describe rhythmic patterns ina poem by separating the metrical feet, counting the syllables, marking the accents, and indicating the pauses.

Scansion can be very useful in analyzing the sound of a poem and how it should be read aloud.

A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter.

the “turn” in thought, from question to answer or problem to solution, often signaled by the words “but” “yet” ” “and yet”. Volta usually occurs at the beginning of the final sestet in an Italian sonnet, on line 9. Sometimes found in English sonnet on line 13, the start of the couplet.