Introduction to Literature: Poetry

Literature
Exists to communicate significant experience–significant because it is concentrated and organized. Its function is not to tell us about experience but to allow us to imaginatively to participate in it. It is a means of allowing us, through the imagination, to live more fully, more richly, and with greater awareness.

Poetry
Might be defined as a kind of language that says more and says it more intensely than does ordinary language. It is the most condensed and concentrated form of literature.

Denotation
The dictionary meaning or meanings of the word.

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Connotation
What a word suggests beyond its basic dictionary definition; its overtones of meaning.

Imagery
The representation through language of sense experience.

Visual Imagery
Imagery that appeals directly to one’s sense of sight.

Auditory Imagery
Imagery that appeals directly to one’s sense of hearing.

Olfactory Imagery
Imagery that appeals directly to one’s sense of smell.

Gustatory Imagery
Imagery that appeals directly to one’s sense of taste.

Tactile Imagery
Imagery that appeals directly to one’s sense of touch.

Kinesthetic Imagery
Imagery that is characterized by movement or tension.

Personification
The attribution of human traits to abstractions or to nonhuman objects.

Apostrophe
Speaker addresses a real or imagined listener who is not present.

Synecdoche
A figure of speech in which a part is used to designate the whole or the whole is used to designate a part.

Metonymy
Substitutes one thing for another with which it is closely identified.

Simile
Illustrates the similarity or comparability of the known to something unknown or to be explained.

Metaphor
A comparison illustrating the similarity or comparability of the known to something unknown or to be explained without the use of the words like or as.

Symbol
Something that represents something other than what it is.

Allegory
A narrative or description that has a second meaning beneath the surface.

Paradox
An apparent contradiction that is nevertheless somehow true.

Overstatement or Hyperbole
Simple exaggeration, but exaggeration in the service of truth.

Irony
A situation or a use of language involving some kind of incongruity or discrepancy. There are three kinds distinguished in our text.

Verbal Irony
A figure of speech in which what is said is the opposite of what is meant.

Saracasm
Bitter or cutting speech.

Satire
Usually applied to written literature rather than to speech and ordinarily implying a higher motive: it is ridicule of human folly or vice, with the purpose of bringing about reform.

Dramatic Irony
An incongruity or discrepancy between what a character says or thinks, believing it to be true, and what the reader knows to be true.

Allusion
A reference to something in history or pervious literature that is a means of suggesting far more than it says.

Total Meaning
The ingredient that can be separated out in the form of a prose paraphrase.

Tone
The writer’s or speaker’s attitude toward the subject, the reader, or herself or himself.

It is the emotional coloring, or the emotional meaning, of the work and is an extremely important part of the fully meaning.

Alliteration
The repetition of initial consonant sounds, as in “tried and true,” “safe and sound,” “fish or fowl,” “rhyme or reason.”

Assonance
The repetition of vowel sounds, as in “mad as a hatter,” “time out of mind,” “free and easy,” “slapdash.”

Consonance
The repetition of final consonant sounds, as in “first and last,” “odds and ends,” “short and sweet,” “a stroke of luck.”

Rhyme
The repetition of the accented vowel sound and any succeeding consonant sounds.

Masculine
When the rhyme sounds involve only one syllable, as in “thin and gin” from Gwendolyn Brooks “We Real Cool”

Feminine
When the rhyme sounds involve two or more syllables, as in “turtle and fertile” or “spitefully and delightfully.

Internal Rhyme
When one or more rhyming words are within the line.

End Rhyme
When the rhyming words are at the ends of lines.

Approximate Rhyme
Also called slant rhymes-include words with any kind of sound similarity, from close to fairly remote.

Anaphora
The repetition of an opening word or phrase in a series of lines as in “Little lamb, little lamb” from William Blake’s “The Lamb.

Rhythm
Refers to any wavelike recurrence of motion or sound.

Accented or Stressed Syllables
Syllables that are given more prominence in pronunciation than the rest.

End-stopped Line
One in which the end of the line corresponds with the natural speech pause.

Enjambment
When a line has no punctuation at the end and the thought carries over to the next line.

Caesura
Pauses that occur within lines, either grammatical or rhetorical.

Meter
Arrangement of words in regularly measured, patterned, or rhythmic lines or verses.

Foot
The basic unit used in the scansion or measurement of verse. A ____ usually contains one accented syllable and one or two unaccented syllables.

Iamb
(light/heavy)-The most important poetic foot in English which contains a light stress followed by a heavy stress.

Iambic Pentameter
A line consisting of five iambic feet.

Trochee
(heavy/light) Poetic foot which consists of a heavy accent followed by a light one (FLOW er).

Dactyl
(heavy/light/light) Poetic foot which consists of one heavy accent followed by two light ones-MAN ne quin.

Anapest
(light/light/heavy) Poetic foot which consists of two light accents followed by a heavy one-“Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb.

Spondee
(heavy/heavy)-“We Real Cool”-(884)- The whole poem is in _______. Every syllable in the poem is heavy.

Line
Poetic equivalent of the prose sentence.

Stanza
A group of lines whose metrical pattern is repeated throughout the poem. Poetic equivalent of a paragraph in prose.

Scansion
To identify the prevailing foot; to name the number of feet in a line-if this length follows any regular pattern; and to describe the stanzaic pattern-if there is one.

Blank Verse
Has a very specific meter.

It is iambic pentameter, unrhymed.

Onomatopoeia
A figure of speech in which words are used to imitate sounds. Examples of _____________ words are buzz, hiss, zing, clippety-clop, and tick-tock.

Phonetic Intensives
The sound, by a process at yet obscure, to some degree connects with their meaning.

Euphony
Sounds grouped together so that the effect is smooth and pleasant sounding.

Cacophony
Sounds grouped together so that the effect is rough and harsh sounding.

Structure
The arrangement of ideas, images, thoughts and sentences in a poem.