Poetic Terms to Know

Ballad
Definition: A type of poem that is meant to be sung and tells a story
Example: “Jack and Jill” by Mother Goose

Elegy
Definition: A sad or unhappy poem about the death or loss of an important person
Example: “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Grat

Epic
Definition: A long poem about heroic events
Example: “The Odyssey” by Homer

Haiku
Definition: A poem that has three lines, 5 syllables-7 syllables-5 syllables, with a total of 17 syllables
Example: “First autumn morning
the mirror I stare into
shows my father’s face” by Murakami Kijo

Lyric Poem
Definition: A personal and emotional poem
Example: “Broken” by SKAT A

Narrative Poem
Definition: A poem that tells a story
Example: “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes

Ode
Definition: A lyric poem that addresses a particular subject
Example: “Ode To A Nightingale” by John Keats

Pastoral
Definition: A poem dealing with the life of shepherds
Example: “Michael” by William Wordsworth

Sonnet
Definition: A poem with 14 lines containing personal feeling
Example: “Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day” by William Shakespeare

Couplet
Definition: Two lines of a verse that having rhyming similarity
Example: “Couplet Poems” by Rudyard Kipling

Quatrain
Definition: Four lines; rhymes
Example: “How Poetry Began” by Andrea Dietrich

Stanza
Definition: A set amount of lines often with rhyming patterns or form
Example: Any poem with sets of lines

Alliteration
Definition: The repetition of consonants at the beginning of words
Example: “Sweet Sugar Cookies and Peanut Butter Bars” by PD

Assonance
Definition: The repetition of similar vowel sounds
Example: “A Well-Known Stranger” by unknown

Consonance
Definition: Repeating pattern in consonants marked by intervening vowels
Example: Raider reader ruder

Blank Verse
Definition: A verse without rhyme
Example: “View it from a far” by unknown

Free Verse
Definition: Not in a specific form with specific rules
Example: “The Sowing” by unknown

Cacophony
Definition: An unpleasant mixture of sounds
Example: When a poet creates lines or verses that have a bunch of mixed up words and/or info creating an unpleasant sound when read

Euphony
Definition: Pleasing (sounds) to the ear
Example: A poem containing rhyme and words that are read smoothly causing a please sound when read aloud

Figurative Language
Definition: Language that can communicate beyond the word’s literal meaning
Example: When the author incorporates, in a sense, symbols that represent something other than the meaning of the word to the eye

Hyperbole
Definition: In order to make a point, using extreme exaggeration
Example: Describing as the most beautiful thing in the world that is perfect and has not faults and couldn’t be any better or improved

Imagery
Definition: Details that form a mental image
Example: When the author describes something causing the reader to form a mental image of the situation or other

Metaphor
Definition: To represent a similarity with an expression that is not meant literally
Example: “Life is a roller coaster” Not literally meant as a roller coaster

Mood
Definition: The emotion overall
Example: When the author uses detail and tone to create a mood such sad or happy or etc.

Onomatopoeia
Definition: Words that imitate their actual sound
Example: Bang! Boom! Crash!

Personification
Definition: When animals or nonhuman forms have the emotions or qualities of humans
Example: When an author creates a non-human to do actions that are usually done by humans to represent different things

Rhyme
Definition: The same sound between words with their syllables
Example: When the author uses words that sound similar such as the feather blew in the weather when I wore my sweater

Rhythm
Definition: The pattern in stressed and unstressed syllables in a line
Example:

Meter
Definition: The unit for rhythm
Example: The amount of beats / syllables

Scansion
Definition: Marking the different stresses
Example: Using symbols to mark the stresses and non stresses such as marking the beginning of a word and the ending

Simile
Definition: A figure of speech expressing the resemblance between differences usually using “as/like”
Example: “Flint” Christine Rossetti

Speaker
Definition: The voice behind the poem not always the author
Example: Either the author’s voice or other

Tone
Definition: The attitude toward the audience by the author
Example: A poem where the author clearly states anger, excitement, humor, etc.