Exploring Poetry Vocab Quiz 1

the language of ordinary written or spoken expression, reflecting grammatical structure but not deliberate rhythm, metrical, or other shaping.

broadly speaking, this term is used to refer to poetry as a metrical form or to any individual poem. The noun takes no article. When used with the article, the term refers to an individual line of poem.

a subset of verse, from which it is distinguished (and to which it is superior) by virtue of its imaginative quality, intricate structure, serious or lofty subject matter, or noble purpose. Those who see a didactic purpose in this form argue that it has an aim to instruct, provide pleasure to the reader, or a unique insight not possible to prose.

narrative poetry
can be defined as “a verbal presentation of a sequence of events or facts whose disposition in time implies casual connection and point, or, more simply, as poetry that tells a story, true or fictional, propelling characters through a plot. Ex: Iliad, Aeneid, Odyssey, Beowulf, Paradise Lost, Tale of Custard the Dragon

dramatic poetry
doesn’t simply tell a story, but enacts it. Crucial to this form of poetry is an active engagement or exchange with other speakers and the presupposition of an audience. It is often highly rhetorical.

lyric poetry
the type of poetry in which the musical element (rhythm, tonality, and other sound effects) is most prominent. The expression of feeling is also crucial to this type of poetry. Older Greek poems of this type were often written for an delivered in public contexts (for recitation or chanting by a collective group), but the modern form of this poetry is most closely bound to individual expression; a modern poem of this type verbalizes the poet’s perceptions to convey his/her values, vision, or feelings.

word choice.

this term refers to the attitude of the speaker toward his or her subject. As such, it may be serious, playful, mocking, angry, ironic, sincere, commanding, apologetic, etc.

used to identify the agency or agent who is speaking through the poem, apart from those passages that are actual dialogue.

voice or speaker of the poem.

the atmosphere that is created by word choice.

changing the normal word order.

negative capability
Originated by Keats; the ability of a poet to dwell in uncertainty; seems perverse because the poet does not have all of the answers; carries the audience into both sides of the argument and draws of from them empathy with both sides. A poet should be kind of a negative force– that only by remaining himself negative, or in some way empty, is the poet able to fill himself with an understanding of, or sympathy for, or empathy with, the subject of his poem; “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason…”

a grouped set of lines in a poem, usually physically set off from other clusters by a line of space, it is the poetic equivalent of the unit of the paragraph in prose.

speaker (persona)
refers to the represented voice and subject giving utterance to the poem. The term “narrator” is used for narrative fiction and narrative poetry; this term is preferred for lyric and dramatic poetry. Specifically, it is when this person is not to be identified with the poet.

the more or less regular pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in poetry.

The metrical unit of a line of verse; a rhythmic unit into which a line of metrical verse is divided. In english verse, it may have any of several combinations of stressed and unstressed syllables, but it usually consists of at least one stressed and one unstressed syllable.

french for “striding over,” this term refers to a poetic phrase or expression that laps over a given line of verse. Lines exhibiting this technique do not end with grammatical breaks, and their sense is incomplete without the following line(s).

end-stopped line
In this type of poetic line, a grammatical pause marked by punctuation and the physical end of the line coincide; the line is complete in itself.

mood (or atmosphere)
these terms refer to the general feeling created in the reader or audience by a work at a given point.

dramatic monologue
a type of lyric poem in which the poem’s speaker addresses a silent listener in the context of a dramatic situation, (unwittingly) reveals his own character and/or temperament. It draws upon the conventions of dramatic verse; internalized dialogue- there is an imaginary auditor that the speaker addresses and reveals things about him or herself that s/he does not realize s/he is revealing.

iambic pentameter
a line divided into a regular pattern of five metrical “feet,” each with one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed (or accented) syllable.

blank verse
poetry composed in lines of unrhymed iambic pentameter.

heroic couplet
a rhyming pair of lines (aa bb cc) composed in regular meter, generally iambic pentameter.

this term refers to a passage printed on the title page, first page, or beginning of a (section of a) literary work. They tend to set the tone or mood of a poem and may establish the theme of what follows.


words that mean their sound.

repetition of the initial sound of words in a line or lines of verse.

repetition of a common consonant sound within words and at the start of them. ex: The little boy lost his shoe in the field. (Warren)

repetition of a common vowel sound among and with words; near rhyme. ex: and land so lightly/And roll back down the mound beside the hole. (Frost)

s, z, sh, zh

figurative language (figure)
language that does not hold to literal meaning. It is a component of lyric poetry. There is a figure–an image– in the poem that is a concrete, nonliteral, informing representation of something (a person, a thing, or an abstraction.)

tacit, implicit (rather than explicit) comparison

direct comparison between 2 things using “like” or “as”

the representation of one thing by another thing.

term used when one gives a physical characteristic or innate quality of animation to something that is inanimate, or to an abstraction.

a reference to something that belongs properly to a world beyond the specific sphere of a poem. Often the reference comes from a historical or cultural context, but not necessarily.

the shared universal fund of perceptions that extend to include personal experiences and events that are likely to occur within the span of each lifetime; they touch upon community life, social life, spiritual life. Within this fund are perceptions so ancient, dramatic, and constant that they have been, over the centuries, mythologized. They have been inexorably bound up in each of us with certain reliable responses.