The Sounds of Poetry

The repetition of the same sounds – usually initial consonants of words or stressed syllables – in any sequence of neighboring words.

Alliterative Verse
Allows a vowel sound to alliterate with any other vowel.

Use of Alliteration
Intensify effects, add weight to an idea, make the verse easy to remember.

Example of Alliteration
Landscape-lover lord of language

The repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds in stressed syllables (and sometimes in the following unstressed syllables) of neighboring words.

Example of Assonance
Sweet dreams, hit or miss

Vowel Rhyme or Vocalic Rhyme
A rhyme at the ends of verse lines.

Use of Assonance
Placed within and between lines of verse for emphasis or musical effect.

The repetition of identical or similar consonants in neighboring words whose vowel sounds are different; opposite of assonance.

Example of Consonance
Odds and ends, struts and frets

Use of Consonance
At the end of verse lines as an alternative to full rhyme.

Rich Consonance
Repetition in which the words are identical except the stressed vowel sound; this device combines alliteration and terminal consonance.

Example of Rich Consonance
Group/grope, middle/muddle, wonder/wander

The use of words that seem to imitate the sounds they refer to.

Example of Onomatopoeia
Whack, fizz, crackle, hiss

Use of Onomatopoeia
To give the impression of echoing the sense.

A harsh, unpleasant combination of sounds or tones.

Use of Cacophony
Add effect, communicate or evoke negative emotions such as disgust, distress, or fear.

“Nonsense” words cause discordance of sound and awkward alliteration.

Example of Cacophony
“Plosives” – (b, d, hard g, k, p, t)

A style in which combinations of words pleasant to the ear predominate; opposite of cacophony.

Use of Euphony
To bring about pleasant, peaceful feelings in the reader. It puts the reader at ease and makes the poem or piece of literature enjoyable to read.

Long vowels are used because they are more melodious than conosnants and short vowels.

Example of Euphony
moon, coat, crateTh or whThe “liquids” – (l, m, n, r)

The identity of sound between syllables or paired groups of syllables, usually at the end of verse lines.

Masculine Rhyme
Monosyllable (love/above)

Feminine Rhyme/Double Rhyme
Two syllables (whether/together)

Triple Rhyme
Three syllables (glamorous/amorous)

Internal Rhyme
Rhymes between syllables within the same line.

A writer of rhyming verse.

Rhythm (Meter)
The pattern of sounds perceived as the recurrence of equivalent ‘beats’ at more or less equal intervals.

Metrical Pattern
A sequence of measured beats and ‘offbeats’ arranged in verse lines and governing the alternation of stressed and unstressed syllables.

unstressed, stressed

stressed, unstressed

Iambic Pentameter
Lines are written in a meter consisting of five iambic feet.

unstressed, unstressed, stressed

stressed, stressed, unstressed

stressed, stressed

unstressed, unstressed

Masculine Ending
Extra STRESSED syllable at the end of a line.

Feminine Ending
Extra UNSTRESSED syllable at the end of a line.

A unit of measurement of accentual-syllablic meter.

A short pause; often (but not always) signaled by a mark of puncucation, such as a comma.

Free Verse
A poem without any governing pattern of stresses or line lengths.