Poetry 101

a story in which people, things, and happenings have a hidden or symbolic meaning: allegories are used for teaching or explaining ideas, moral principles, etc.

The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of wordsEX) “She sells sea-shells down by the sea-shore”

a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize

repetition of a word or phrase as the beginning of successive clausesEX) “I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.”

repetition of key word in a phrase as a play on words; the sense or meaning of the word changes in the second instanceEX) “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

antithesis “an-TITH-uh-sis”
a statement in which two opposing ideas are balancedEX) “Give me liberty or give me death.

in which the speaker addresses an absent quality, object or person as if it were present and sentient

the act of repeating a vowel sound in a phrase or sentence, often in poetryEX) “True, I do like Sue.”

blank verse
unrhymed verse (usually in iambic pentameter)

caesure “sa-SUR-uh”
a break or pause in a line of verse, usually about the middle of the line and is shown in scanning by the sign ?

the repetition of consonants or of a consonant pattern, especially at the ends of wordsEX) blank and think or strong and string

a unit of verse consisting of two successive lines, usually rhyming and having the same meter and often forming a complete thought or syntactic unit.EX) “For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright / Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

the omission of an unstressed vowel or syllable to preserve the meterEX) “Now his huge bulk o’er Afric’s sands careened,”

rhyme that occurs at the end of two or more lines of poetryEX) “Twinkle, twinkle little star, How I wonder where you are.”

repetition of a word or expression at the end of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or verses; opposite of anaphoraEX) “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.”

eye rhyme
rhyme that appears correct from spelling but does not rhyme because of pronunciation; aka “sight rhyme”EX) love, move

a line of poetry that ends with a natural pause often indicated by a mark of punctuation

the running-on of thought from one line, couplet, or stanza to the next without a syntactical break

feminine ending
the ending of a metrical line on an unstressed syllableEX) DOU/ble, DOU/ble, TOIL and TROU/ble

masculine ending
the ending of a metrical line on a stressed syllableEX) LIFE is BUT an EMP/ty DREAM

heroic couplet
two rhymed lines of iambic pentamenter that contain a completed thoughtEX) “So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

extravagant exaggerationEX) It was so cold, I saw polar bears wearing jackets.

Description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) to evoke a picture or a concrete sensation of a person, thing, place, or experience

internal rhyme
a rhyme between words in the same lineEX) I went to town to by a gown.

understatement for rhetorical effect (especially when expressing an affirmative by negating its contrary)EX) saying ‘I was not a little upset’ when you mean ‘I was very upset’

comparing two things without using ‘like’ or ‘as’EX) Her eyes were sparkling diamonds.

when the name of one object is substituted for that of another closely associated with itEX) The White House declared vs.

The President declared

rhythm as given by division into parts of equal time

off rhyme
rhyme that does not perfectly match in vowel or consonant sound; aka “slant rhyme”EX) barn, yard; orange, scourge

The use of words that imitate the sounds of the object or action they’re describingEX) ‘train’ being called ‘choo-choo’

a figure of speech contianing contradictory terms EX) deafening silence, jumbo shrimp

a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truthEX) I always lie –> if you’re lying, it’s actually true and if you’re telling the truth, you’re lying

a point is stressed by suggesting that it is too obvious or well-known to mentionEX) Not to mention the expense involved…

the use of corresponding or parallel constructions

the act of attributing human characteristics to abstract ideas, objects or animals

a humorous play on words

a four line stanza

be similar in sound, especially with respect to the last syllableEX) hat, cat

comparing two things with ‘like’ or ‘as’EX) Her eyes sparkled like diamonds.

a group of lines arranged together

when you repeat what you’re defining in its definitionEX) Tritone is tritone.

terza rime
three-line stanza using chain rhyme ABA BCB CDC DED

a narrative (and lyrical) poem of popular originEX) ‘Famous Flower of Serving Men’

dramatic monologue
a poem in which a speaker addresses a silent listenerEX) ‘Ulysses’ – Alfred Lord Tennyson

a mournful poem, a lament for the deadEX) ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’ – John Donne

free verse
unrhymed verse without a consistent metrical patternEX) ‘America’ – Allen Ginsberg

a lyrical poem usually addressed to a particular person, object or event that has stimulated deep and noble feelings in the poetEX) ‘The Rising Sun’ – John Donne

a lyric form that consists of six stanzas of six lines each followed by a three-line conclusion or envoy; this form requires a strict pattern of repetition of six key words that end the lines of the first stanzaEX) ‘Ye wastefull woodes, bear witness of my woe’ – Edmund Spenser

a 14-line poem, usually with strict rhyme scheme and 10-ish syllables per line, may be divided into an octet and a sestet with a volta in betweenEX) ‘Lucifer in Starlight’ – George Meredith

written in tercets, usually five in number, followed by a final quatrain, all being based on two rhymesEX) ‘Do Not Go Gentle In to that Good Night’ – Dylan Thomas

one-foot line (2 syllables)

two-foot line (4 syllables)

three-foot line (6 syllables)

four-foot line (8 syllables)

five-foot line (10 syllables)

six-foot line (12 syllables)

seven-foot line (14 syllables)

eight-foot line (16 syllables)

one word, two syllables – unstressed, stressedEX) hell/O

one word, two syllables – stressed, stressed; generally eerie soundingEX) TROU/ble

one word, three syllables – unstressed, unstressed, stressedEX) un/der/STAND

one word, three syllables – stressed, unstressed, unstressedEX) CAN/o/py

two words, one syllable each – both stressedEX) WORK SONG

two words, one syllable each – both unstressedEX) to a