Poetry Unit Lit Term Cards

alliteration
Repetition of initial consonant sounds

Example: In the poem Reapers by Jean Toomer there are many examples of alliteration. For instance one of them is and there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds, his belly close to ground. I see the blade, blood- stained, continue cutting weeds and shade. The alliteration would be bleeds, belly, blade, and bloodstained.

allusion
A brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance.

Example: I believe the poem Buffalo Bill is a memoir to the famous William Frederick who is nicknamed “Buffalo Bill”.

allusion

assonance
Repetition of a vowel sound within two or more words in close proximity

Example: In the poem We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks, there is the line where the narrator says “Sing Sin, We Thin Gin” where as the in is being repeated over and over again.

assonance

connotation
An idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning

Example: Reapers which is stated many times in the poem “Reapers” by Jean Toomer makes me think of a dark, stormy, and diseased time when the angel of death came to end people off where as in the story it comes to mow down rats.

connotation

consonance
Repetition of a consonant sound within two or more words in close proximity.

Example: In the poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” by John Keats, the narrator sees pale kings, pale princes, and pale warriors where as the pale would be the consonance as it is repeated multiple times.

consonance

denotation
The dictionary definition of a word

Example: the dictionary definition of reaper is a person or machine that harvests a crop but in the poem it seems more as the angel of death.

denotation

diction
A writer’s or speaker’s choice of words

Example: In the poem Buffalo Bills by E.E Cummings he says the line “and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat” which gives the reader the notion that the narrator is talking really fast and rushed when saying this.

diction

hyperbole
A figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion, make a point, or evoke humor

Example: In “Making a Fist” by Naomi Shihab Nye the other describes her pain with the phrase “My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin” which is an exaggeration for her pain.

hyperbole

imagery
Description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)

Example: In Buffalo Bills the narrator says the phrase “watersmooth-silver stallion” which gives the reader the imagery of feeling the stallion and its skin being super smooth.

imagery

metaphor
A comparison of two unlike things without using “like” or “as”

Example: In Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare, the narrator claims that his mistress’s eyes are nothing LIKE the sun where he is comparing the sun and her eyes which are two very unlike things.

metaphor

onomatopoeia
A word that imitates the sound it represents.

Example: In the poem Reapers by Jean Toomer, the field rat is startled and squeals which imitates the sound of a rat if it was frightened or hurt.

onomatopoeia

personification
A figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes

Example: In the poem A man said to the Universe by Stephen Crane says
“However, replied the universe, The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation” which makes the universe sound as if it is a person.

personification

repetition
Repeated use of sounds, words, or ideas for effect and emphasis

Example: In the poem We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks the narrator says we eight times in the story emphasizing that she and her group did everything together.

repetition

rhyme
Correspondence of sound between words or the endings of words, especially when these are used at the ends of lines of poetry.

Example: The rhyme in Reapers by Jean Toomer is AA BB CC DD because each line rhymes with the one above it.

rhyme

rhythm
Pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables

Example: In the poem Reapers by Jean Toomer, the author uses a bunch of rhyming words such as stones, hones, done, one, weeds, bleeds, blade and shade.

rhythm

simile
A comparison using “like” or “as”

Example: In the poem by Emily Dickinson the narrator uses the words “How public-like a frog” which is a simile because it is a comparison using like or as.

simile

speaker/persona
A term used for the author, speaker, or the person whose perspective (real or imagined) is being advanced in a speech or piece of writing

Example: In the poem Danny Deaver there are three speakers present which is the narrator, the Colour Sergeant, and Files on Parade.

speaker/persona

symbolism
Something that represents something else

Example: In the poem “Making a Fist” by Jean Toomer the fist represents the fight that you have to give to get through life.

symbolism

theme
Central idea of a work of literature

Example: In the poem Reapers the theme of the poem is Death as it has reapers which is an angel of death and has them killing field rats.

theme

thematic statement
An interpretive statement articulating the central meaning or message of a text

Example: In the poem “Making a Fist” by Naomi Shihab Nye a thematic statement is “Life is a never ending fight that you can’t win.”

thematic statement

tone
A writer’s attitude toward his or her subject matter revealed through diction, figurative language, and organization on the sentence and global levels.

Example: The tone of “Reapers” by Jean Toomer is very dark and makes the reader see the poem as depressed because of the constant mention of death.

tone