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Poetry Terms


WORD BANK: alliteration; allusion; assonance; ballad; caesura; carpe diem; connotation; consonance; couplet; denotation; elegy; enjambement; feet; feminine rhyme; haiku; hyperbole; imagery; limerick; litotes; lyric; masculine rhyme; metaphor; meter; narrative; ode; onomatopoeia; oxymoron; pastoral; paradox; personification; refrain; repetition; rhyme; rhyme scheme; simile; sonnet; speaker; stanza; stress; symbol; tone.

CARPEDIEM A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend; often has a repeated refrain.
PASTORAL Reference to a person, place or event in history or literature
SONNET A mid-line pause in a line of poetry.
HYPERBOLE The pattern of rhyming words in a poem.
METER A figure of speech in which two things are compared using the word "like" or "as".
ODE A formal division of lines in a poem that is considered as a unit.
ONOMATOPOEIA The prominence or emphasis given to particular syllables. These syllables usually stand out because they have long, rather than short vowels, or because they have a different pitch or are louder than other syllables.
OXYMORON A figure of speech in which a positive is stated by negating its opposite -- ex: no small victory.
CONSONANCE The stressed and unstressed syllables of a line of poetry are divided into groups of these and the number determines the meter of a poem.
BALLAD The repetition of sounds at the ends of words.
HAIKU The writer's attitude toward his subject and the audience.
LITOTES Anything that stands for or represents something else.
ALLITERATION A line ending in which the sense continues, with no punctuation, into the next line or stanza.
FEET A phrase, line, or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem, usually after every stanza.
COUPLET A rhyme that occurs in a final unstressed syllable -- pleasure/leisure, longing/yearning.
FEMININERHYME A poem that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet.
DENOTATION These poems urge the reader to "seize the day" and enjoy the pleasures of the moment.
SPEAKER Expresses a seeming contradiction.
RHYME A word's dictionary or literal meaning.
SYMBOL The use of any element of language more than once - in poetry it is used for musical effects and for emphasis.
NARRATIVE Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables that reflects on some aspect of nature.
TONE Repetition of the same sound over and over.
CAESURA A light, humorous poem of five lines with the rhyme scheme of aabba.
METAPHOR A lyric poem that is serious and thoughtful in tone and has a very precise, formal structure.
IMAGERY A form of paradox which brings together contradictory terms -- wise fool, loud silence.
LYRIC A pair of rhyming lines, usually of the same length and meter; generally expresses a single idea.
MASCULINERHYME The set of meanings or ideas associated with a word; can be personal, cultural, or societal.
ELEGY The repetition or pattern of the same vowel sounds
RHYMESCHEME The imaginary voice assumed by the writer of a poem.
LIMERICK A figure of speech in which words are used to imitate sounds.
ALLUSION The descriptive or figurative language used to create mental pictures for readers; uses one or more of the senses.
REPETITION A figure of speech in which deliberate exaggeration is used for emphasis.
REFRAIN Poems that tell stories -- ballads, epics, and lays.
SIMILE A figure of speech in which two things are compared without using the words "like" or "as".
ENJAMBEMENT A poem that laments the death of a person or one that is simply sad and thoughtful.
PERSONIFICATION The repetition of consonant sounds at the ends of accented syllables; used to create musical effects.
ASSONANCE A lyric poem that is 14 lines long and is usually written in iambic pentameter.
PARADOX A poem's rhythmical pattern -- the number and types of stresses or beats in each line.
CONNOTATION A figure of speech in which nonhuman things are given human attributes.
STRESS A poem that pictures country life in a peaceful, idealized way.
STANZA A rhyme that occurs in a final stressed syllable -- cat/hat.

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