Poetic Terms English

the speaker of the poem; poems are always delivered by personas or speakers—never attribute the thoughts and feelings being expressed in the poem to the author.

the repetition of similar sounds at regular intervals

End Rhyme
rhyming words at the ends of lines of verse

Internal Rhyme
rhyming words in the middles of lines of verse; position is regular within the rhythm of the lines

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Masculine Rhyme
rhyme of the last accented syllable of a word

Feminine Rhyme
rhyme in which two consecutive syllables of the rhyming words correspond

Half Rhyme/Slant Rhyme
imperfect, approximate rhyme; indicate presence of slant rhyme by putting the letter of the rhyme scheme in parentheses

Eye Rhyme
words that look like they should sound the same, but are pronounced differently; indicate presence of eye rhyme by putting the letter of the rhyme scheme in parentheses

Rhyme Scheme/pattern
pattern of rhymes within a unit of verse; in analysis, each end rhyme sound is designated with a letter

One of the divisions of a poem, composed of two or more lines usually characterized by a common pattern of meter, rhyme, and number of lines.

The most common stanzaic groups:
Couplet =unit of 2 linesTercet = unit of 3 linesQuatrain = unit of 4 linesQuintain = unit of 5 linesSestet = unit of 6 linesSeptet = unit of 7 linesOctet: unit of 8 lines

Verse Paragraphs
stanzas with no regular number of lines or groups of lines that make up units of sense; usually separated by blank lines; frequently used in blank verse and in free verse.

a direct address either to someone who is absent and therefore cannot hear the speaker or to something nonhuman that cannot comprehend.

Imagery and Sensory Detail
imagery is the depiction of physical, tangible things through the use of sensory detail, which consists of vivid descriptive details which evoke the five senses.tactile imagery – toucholfactory imagery – smellgustatory imagery – tasteauditory imagery – soundvisual imagery – sight

the description of one sensory experience in terms of another

the direct comparison of two unlike objects in order to emphasize the trait or quality they share in common

a metaphor using “like” or “as”

an extended metaphor that applies to an entire poem or a large section of it

the use of one object to represent or stand for a greater or deeper idea

giving humanlike qualities to nonhuman creatures or objects

referencing something by a part or piece of it, or referencing a piece of something by the whole

referencing something by naming one of its attributes or something associated with it

the persona’s attitude toward the subject being written about: conveyed through word choice and manner of discussion

the emotional response that a piece of literature evokes in a reader

the repetition of the initial sounds of words to create an effect

the repetition of vowel sounds, anywhere within a word or line, to create an effect

the repetition of consonant sounds, anywhere within a word or line, to create an effect

the repetition of pleasant, harmonious sounds to create an effect

the repetition of unpleasant, discordant sounds to create an effect

a deliberate pause or stop in a line of poetry, indicated by a strong form of punctuation, such as a period, exclamation point, question mark, dash, semi-colon, colon, and parenthesis. . ! ? — ; : ( )When annotating a poem, label all caesura with a pause sign, or railroad tracks ll

initial caesuramedial caesuraterminal caesura
Caesura is called initial if it appears at the beginning or within the first third of a line of verse.

Caesura is called medial if it appears in the middle of a line (anywhere after the first third and before the final word of the line). Terminal caesura appears after the last word of a line of verse.**We expect and desire terminal caesura in poetry because we like the pause in meaning to be in accord with the visual break of a line or stanza. As well, terminal caesura helps to emphasize a rhyme because pausing allows us to really savor the sound. Consequently, any places where a poet uses initial or medial caesura really draw our attention because the poet is having to break from his form in order to make his lines make sense.

an incomplete sentence or thought at the end of a line of verse, indicated by a lack of punctuation, that forces readers to continue reading over a line or stanza break in order to finish the thought.

This term is from the French, enjambement, which translates to “a running over.” In annotation, enjambment is labeled with an arrow ?**Enjambment only occurs in poetry, and it is most interesting when it appears across stanza breaks. It is frequently used to allow poets to preserve a rhyme scheme or meter to their poem without sacrificing meaning, but it can also create tension in a poem, as readers make a visual stop at the end of a line, and enjambment has the effect of pulling them through this natural pause in order to finish the idea. Poets can manipulate expectations by turning on a word or a pattern of thought or feeling through an enjambed line.

dramatic monologue
a form of poetry also known as the persona poem, in which a single speaker or persona, delivers an extended speech via poem.

An audience within the context of the poem is implied, and often acknowledged by the persona. Because the speech is delivered by a single entity, the meaning is not layered intentionally in symbolic or figurative means. Instead, the audience must interpret the subjective qualities of the speaker that are indicated through his or her choice of words, topic, and feelings.

a form of poetry that is a formal address to an event, a person, or a thing not present. There are three types of odes: the Pindaric, The Horatian, and the Irregular.

The Pindaric is the original and most formal, and was performed with a chorus and dancers, most frequently to celebrate athletic victories. The Horatian is less structured and more contemplative and philosophic. The Irregular form retains the tone and essence of its predecessors, but lets go of the formal structures.

a form of poetry that is 14 lines and a prescribed rhyme scheme that is composed of three key parts: a problem or situation, a volta (turn or shift in the direction of thought and feeling), and a resolution. There are over 27 recognized sonnet forms, but we will study the most popular: the Italian sonnet and the English sonnet.Italian: an octet of ABBAABBA and a sestet of any combination of 2 or 3 additional rhyming sounds CDCDCD, CDECDE, CDDCEEEnglish: 3 quatrains of alternating rhyme ABAB CDCD EFEF and an ending couplet GG

a form of poetry that is 19 lines long, a strictly prescribed rhyme scheme, and two repeating refrains. This form is separated into five tercets and a quatrain, and it employs only two rhyming sounds. The refrains rhyme with each other, and they appear in the first tercet (1st and 3rd lines), as well as alternatingly as the final line of the remaining tercets, and as the final two lines of the ending quatrain.

a form of poetry that tells a story about one or more characters and a series of events leading to a dramatic conclusion. The ballad is typically constructed in quatrains, rhyming either the second and fourth lines, or all alternating lines. Ballads are largely plot-driven, rather than layered with symbolic or figurative meaning, as it straightforwardly shows readers the critical moments that lead up to the resolution. Ballads originated as plot-driven songs accompanied by instruments and preserved orally through recitation.

The subject matter is often religious, romantic, political, or domestic (usually local crimes or legends).

Light Verse
a form of poetry that is meant to entertain or amuse through a discussion of light-hearted, humorous, or innocent subject matter. These poems tend to be fairly short and employ a playful rhyme and rhythm that is regular and predictable.

They often involve nonsense and word play.

free verse/ shape poem
an open form of poetry that does not involve any kind of regular or prescribed rhyme scheme or stanza pattern, though these may be included at the poet’s discretion. **Free verse is the truest expression of art with words. Modern poets like ee cummings and William Carlos Williams made groundbreaking innovations with their poetry, as the space on the page has as much to do with the meaning of the poem as the words themselves. Line placement influences the appearance, the pace, the mood, and the attitude of the poems, as words can stream on endlessly to mimic capitalist droning or they can skip, jump, and prance across the page like children at play.

Word choice and placement are the key elements of free verse—they dictate when and where you stop to make meaning, the pace at which you read, and the words and ideas to which you pay attention.

Parody and Satire
Parody: a verse form that mimics the style and subject of an original, usually well-known and highly regarded poem or literary work in order to produce a humorous effect. Parody is imitation of an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of satiric or ironic imitation. Satire: a literary style used to make fun of or ridicule an idea or human vice or foible, frequently with the intent of changing or altering the subject being attacked.