AP English Poetry terms

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Last updated: November 30, 2019

alliteration
Repetition of initial consonant sounds
alliteration

allusion
A reference to another work of literature, person, or event
allusion

antithesis
A balancing of two opposite or contrasting words, phrases, or clauses.
apostrophe
A figure of speech that directly addresses an absent or imaginary person or a personified abstraction, such as liberty or love.
apostrophe

assonance
Repetition of vowel sounds
ballad meter
a four-line stanza rhymed abcd with four feet in lines one and three and three feet in lines two and four.

blank verse
Unrhymed iambic pentameter
cacaphony
Harsh, awkward, or dissonant sounds used deliberately in poetry or prose; the opposite o
cacaphony

caesura
A natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line.

conceit
A fanciful, particularly clever extended metaphor

consonance
Repetition of consonant sounds
couplet
A pair of lines that end in rhyme
couplet

devices of sound
The techniques of deploying the sound of words, especially in poetry.

devices of sound

diction
Choice of words
diction

didactic poem
a poem which is intended primarily to teach a lesson

dramatic poem
A narrative poem in which one or more characters speak

elegy
a sorrowful poem or speech

end stopped
A line of poetry that ends with a punctuation mark
enjambment
A run-on line of poetry in which logical and grammatical sense carries over from one line into the next.
enjambment

extended metaphor
A metaphor that continues beyond it’s initial use, can be developed at great length
euphony
pleasant, harmonious sound
euphony

eye rhyme
rhyme that appears correct from spelling but does not rhyme because of pronunciation
feminine rhyme
a rhyme of two syllables, one stressed and one unstressed, as “waken” and “forsaken” and “audition” and “rendition.” Feminine rhyme is sometimes called double rhyme.
feminine rhyme

figurative language
words or groups of words that exaggerate or alter the usual meanings of the component words
figurative language

free verse
Poetry that does not have a regular meter or rhyme scheme

heroic couplet
A pair of rhymed, iambic pentameter lines.

hyperbole
purposeful exaggeration for effect
hyperbole

imagery
Language that appeals to the senses.
imagery

irony
A contrast between expectation and reality
internal rhyme
A word inside a line rhymes with another word on the same line

lyric poem
A short poem of songlike quality
lyric poem

masculine rhyme
A rhyme ending on the final stressed syllable
metaphor
figure of speech comparing two different things
metaphor

meter
A regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry
meter

metonymy
A figure of speech in which something is referred to by using the name of something that is associated with it
metonymy

mixed metaphor
is a metaphor that has gotten out of control and mixes its terms so that they are visually or imaginatively incompatible.

“The President is a lame duck who is running out of gas.”

mixed metaphor

narrative poem
A poem that tells a story
narrative poem

octave
8 line stanza

onomatopoeia
A word that imitates the sound it represents.

oxymoron
A figure of speech consisting of two apparently contradictory terms
paradox
a contradiction or dilemma
paradox

parallelism
A literary technique that relies on the use of the same syntactical structures
parallelism

paraphrase
(v.) to restate in other words; (n.)a statement that presents a given idea in new language
personification
A figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes
personification

poetic foot
a group of syllables in verse usually consisting of one accented syllable and one or two unaccented syllables associated with it.

pun
a play on words that are identical or similar in sound but have sharply diverse meanings
quatrain
4 line stanza

refrain
A line or set of lines repeated several times over the course of a poem.

rhyme
Repetition of sounds at the end of words

rhyme royal
A seven-line stanza of iambic pentameter rhymed ababbcc

rhythmn
pattern of beats or stresses in spoken or written languages

sarcasm
harsh, cutting language or tone intended to ridicule
sarcasm

satire
A literary work that criticizes human misconduct and ridicules vices, stupidities, and follies.
scansion
Analysis of verse into metrical patterns

sestet
6 line stanza

simile
A comparison using like or as
simile

sonnet
14 line poem
stanza
A group of lines in a poem

strategy
management of language for a specific purpose

structure
arrangement of material within a work

style
mode of expression in language

symbol
A thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.
symbol

synecdoche
. a figure of speech that utilizes a part as representative of the whole. “All hands on deck” is an example.

syntax
Order words occur
syntax

tercet
3 line stanza

terza rima
a verse form with a rhyme scheme: aba bcb cdc, etc.

theme
Central idea of a work of literature

tone
Attitudes and presuppositions of the author that are revealed by their linguistic choices (diction, syntax, rhetorical devices)

understatement
a statement that is restrained in ironic contrast to what might have been said
understatement

villanelle
A 19 line form using only two rhymes and repeating two of the lines according to a set pattern

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