English 8 Poetry Terms

lyric poem
a poem in which a single speaker expresses personal thoughts and feelings

narrative poem
a poem that tells a story

ballad poem
a songlike poem with a stanza that repeats and sometimes includes exaggerations or supernatural events

epic poem
a poem in which a hero accomplishes a goal

ode poem
a poem celebrating or praising something

sonnet
a poem of 14 lines with a regular pattern of rhythm and rhyme

elegy
a poem of mourning over the loss of someone or something

lyric example poem title
“Mother to Son”

narrative example poem title
“Paul Revere’s Ride”

ballad example poem title
“The Cremation of Sam McGee”

epic example poem title
“Beowulf”

ode example poem title
“Ode to Thanks”

sonnet example poem title
“Sonnet 18”

elegy example poem title
“O Captain! My Captain!”

stanza
a group of lines in a poem

speaker
the voice talking to the reader in a poem

traditional form
poems that have set patterns of lines, stanzas, rhythm, or rhyme

free-verse form
poems without patterns of lines, stanzas, rhythm, or rhyme

simile example
“THANKS makes the rounds / from one pair of lips to another, / SOFT AS A BRIGHT FEATHER…” (Neruda 9-13)

metaphor example
“I want to WATERSKI / ACROSS THE SURFACE OF A POEM…” (Collins 9-10).

personification example
“Light and life FLEEING together…” (Raffel 8).

extended metaphor definition
a direct comparison of two unlike things throughout multiple stanzas or throughout a whole poem

extended metaphor example
Whitman’s poem is talking about a boat captain who has fallen dead on the deck of a ship after a long voyage.

alliteration definition
the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words

alliteration example
“FOR you the FLAG is FLUNG…” (Whitman 10).

assonance definition
the repetition of vowel sounds within words

assonance example
“and hold it up to the LIGHT / LIKE a color SLIDE…” (Collins 2-3)

rhythm defnition
a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem

repetition definition
repeating sounds, words, lines, or stanzas within a poem

repetition example
“THANKS to the word / that says THANKS!” (Neruda 1-2).

onomatopoeia definition
words that sound just like they are spelled

onomatopoeia example
“…heard the BLEATING of the flock, / and the TWITTER of birds…” (Longfellow 103-104).

rhyme definition
repetition of sounds at the ends of words

rhyme example
“And before NIGHTFALL a corpse was ALL that was left of Sam McGee” (Service 28).

imagery definition
descriptive details that appeal to the senses and paint a vivid picture in the mind of a reader

imagery example
“clinging to pointy / volcanoes…” (Neruda 42-43

theme of “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins
Take time with poetry to explore it for its meanings. Thoughtfully consider and let yourself feel the poem. Don’t just pick it apart.

theme of “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Appreciate your freedom and take pride in our nation. Remeber the importance of liberty and that it’s worth the fight.

theme of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service
People tend to exaggerate and go to extremes when unhappy or uncomfortable. Also, keep your promises.

theme of “Beowulf” translated by Raffel
A hero can conquer evil with his honor, courage, and skill. True bravery and valor will lead to success.

theme of “Casey at the Bat” by Thayer
The best cannot succeed 100% of the time. Even the greats can fall.

theme of “Ode to Thanks” by Pablo Neruda
Something as tiny as a single word can spread positivity across the whole world in small, but quite significant ways.

theme of “Sonnet 18” by Shakespeare
This pristine image of a lover as more lovely than a summer’s day will never fade in the speaker’s mind, and this perfect image will live on forever because it’s been written down.

theme of “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman
Carrying on after the loss of a trusted leader is tough, scary, and sad. Just when you think everything’s going to be calm and okay, inevitably more obstacles will arise.

theme of “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes
One must persevere through struggles in life. Life is a struggle for all humans, and we must never give up and keep climbing our way through this staircase of life.

the speaker of “Introduction to poetry” by Billy Collins
the poet or possibly a teacher

the speaker of “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes
a mother