a single unit of speech sound as written or spoken; specifically, a vowel preceded by zero to three consonants (“awl,” “bring,” “strand”), and followed by zero to four consonants (“too,” “brag,” “gloss,” “stings,” “sixths”).
a syllable uttered in a higher pitch—or with greater emphasis—than others.
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The English language itself determines how English words are stressed, but sentence structure, semantics, and meter influence the placement and perception of stress
the rhythmical pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in verse.
the basic unit of measurement of accentual-syllabic meter. A foot usually contains one stressed syllable and at least one unstressed syllable. The standard types of feet in English poetry are the iamb, trochee, dactyl, anapest, spondee, and pyrrhic (two unstressed syllables).
a metrical foot consisting of two unaccented syllables followed by an accented syllable.
The words “underfoot” and “overcome” are anapestic.
a metrical foot consisting of an accented syllable followed by two unaccented syllables; the words “poetry” and “basketball” are both dactylic.
a metrical foot consisting of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable. The words “unite” and “provide” are both iambic.
It is the most common meter of poetry in English (including all the plays and poems of William Shakespeare), as it is closest to the rhythms of English speech.
a metrical foot consisting of two accented syllables. An example of a spondaic word is “hog-wild.”
a metrical foot consisting of an accented syllable followed by an unaccented syllable. Examples of trochaic words include “garden” and “highway.” William Blake opens “The Tyger” with a predominantly trochaic line: “Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright.
” Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” is mainly trochaic.
a line of verse composed of two feet. “The way a crow/shook down on me” by Robert Frost is an example of dimeter.
a line of three metrical feet.
“We romped until the pans/Fell from the kitchen shelf” by Theodore Roethke is an example of trimeter.
a line made up of four feet. “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-” by Emily Dickinson is an example of tetrameter.
a line made up of five feet. It is the most common metrical line in English. Theodore Roethke’s “The Waking” is written in iambic pentameter–“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.”
unrhyming iambic pentameter.
the analysis of the metrical patterns of a poem by organizing its lines into feet of stressed and unstressed syllables and showing the major pauses, if any.
Scansion also involves the classification of a poem’s stanza, structure, and rhyme scheme.
figure of speech
an expressive, non-literal use of language.
something in the world of the senses, including an action, that reveals or is a sign for something else, often abstract or otherworldly. A rose, for example, has long been considered a symbol of love and affection.
a comparison made with “as,” “like,” or “than.
” In “A Red, Red Rose,” Robert Burns declares: “O my Luve is like a red, red rose.”
a comparison that is made directly without pointing out a similarity by using words such as “like,” “as,” or “than.” See Sylvia Plath’s description of her dead father as “Marble-heavy, a bag full of God” in “Daddy,” or Emily Dickinson’s “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers— / That perches in the soul—.”
a figure of speech in which the poet describes an abstraction, a thing, or a nonhuman form as if it were a person. William Blake’s “O Rose, thou art sick!” is one example;
a brief, intentional reference to a historical, mythic, or literary person, place, event, or movement. (find example)
a basic model from which copies are made; a prototype. According to psychologist Carl Jung, archetypes emerge in literature from the “collective unconscious” of the human race. Northrop Frye, in his Anatomy of Criticism, explores archetypes as the symbolic patterns that recur within the world of literature itself.
In both approaches, archetypical themes include birth, death, sibling rivalry, and the individual versus society. Archetypes may also be images or characters, such as the hero, the lover, the wanderer, or the matriarch.
a central or recurring image or action in a literary work that is shared by other works and may serve an overall theme.
a figure of speech that brings together contradictory words for effect, such as “jumbo shrimp” and “deafening silence.” For instance, John Milton describes Hell as “darkness visible” in Book I of Paradise Lost.
as a figure of speech, it is a seemingly self-contradictory phrase or concept that illuminates a truth. For instance, Wallace Stevens, in “The Snow Man,” describes the “Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
an address to a dead or absent person, or personification as if he or she were present. In his Holy Sonnet “Death, be not proud,” John Donne denies death’s power by directly admonishing it. Emily Dickinson addresses her absent object of passion in “Wild nights!—Wild nights!”
non-metical, non-rhyming lines that closely follow the natural rhythms of speech.
The running-over of a sentence or phrase from one poetic line to the next without terminal punctuation; the opposite of end-stopped lines.
A line ending at a grammatical boundary or break—such as a dash or closing parenthesis—or with punctuation such as a colon, a semicolon, or a period.
A grouping of lines separated from others in a poem. In modern free verse, the stanza, like a prose paragraph, can be used to mark a shift in mood, time or thought.
Language that evokes one or all of the five senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching.
The deliberate repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of several successive verses, clauses, or paragraphs.
The piling up of images or concrete details.
Repeating similarly structured phrases, clauses or sentences to establish a pattern and emphasize important ideas.
The poet’s attitude toward the poem’s speaker, reader, and subject matter, as interpreted by the reader. Often described as a “mood” that pervades the experience of reading the poem, it is created by the poem’s vocabulary, metrical regularity or irregularity, syntax, use of figurative language, and rhyme.
As a literary device, irony implies a distance between what is said and what is meant. Based on the context, the reader is able to see the implied meaning in spite of the contradiction.
The repetition of initial stressed, consonant sounds in a series of words within a phrase or verse line. Alliteration need not reuse all initial consonants; “pizza” and “place” alliterate. Example: “We saw the sea sound sing, we heard the salt sheet tell,” from Dylan Thomas’s “Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed.”
The repetition of vowel sounds without repeating consonants; sometimes called vowel rhyme. See Amy Lowell’s “In a Garden” (“With its leaping, and deep, cool murmur”) or “The Taxi” (“And shout into the ridges of the wind”).
Harsh or discordant word sounds; the opposite of euphony.
A resemblance in sound between two words, or an initial rhyme. Consonance can also refer to shared consonants, whether in sequence (“bed” and “bad”) or reversed (“bud” and “dab”).
A disruption of harmonic sounds or rhythms. Like cacophony, it refers to a harsh collection of sounds. ; dissonance is usually intentional, however, and depends more on the organization of sound for a jarring effect, rather than on the unpleasantness of individual words.
the acoustic effect produced by words so formed or combined as to please the ear such as the word ‘ripple.
A figure of speech in which the sound of a word imitates its sense (for example, “choo-choo,” “hiss,” or “buzz”). In “Piano,” D.H. Lawrence describes the “boom of the tingling strings” as his mother played the piano, mimicking the volume and resonance of the sound (“boom”) as well as the fine, high-pitched vibration of the strings that produced it (“tingling strings”).
The repetition of syllables, typically at the end of a verse line. Rhymed words conventionally share all sounds following the word’s last stressed syllable.
Thus “tenacity” and “mendacity” rhyme, but not “jaundice” and “John does,” or “tomboy” and “calm bay.”
A rhyme scheme is usually the pattern of end rhymes in a stanza, with each rhyme encoded by a letter of the alphabet, from a onward (ABBA BCCB, for example). Rhymes are classified by the degree of similarity between sounds within words, and by their placement within the lines or stanzas.
the most common type, is the rhyming of the final syllables of a line.
See “Midstairs” by Virginia Hamilton Adair:
describes those rhymes ending in a stressed syllable, such as “hells” and “bells.” It is the most common type of rhyme in English poetry.
applies to the rhyming of one or more unstressed syllables, such as “dicing” and “enticing.”
rhymes only when spelled, not when pronounced. For example, “through” and “rough.
Half or slant rhyme
the rhyming of the ending consonant sounds in a word (such as “tell” with “toll,” or “sopped” with “leapt”). This is also termed “off-rhyme,” “slant rhyme.”
employs the same word, identically in sound and in sense, twice in rhyming positions.
rhyme within a single line of verse When a word from the middle of a line is rhymed with a word at the end of the line.
Edgar Allen Poe
A Dream Within a Dream
Edgar Allen Poe
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers
In never saw a Moor
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant
Success is counted sweetest
Oh Captain! My Captain!
I Hear America Singing
Song of Myself
War is Kind
Think as I think
Once There Came a Man
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
The Road Not Taken
After Apple Picking
Fire and Ice
Gambling debts forced to leave school
Edgar Allan Poe
Parents actors and died before 3 years old.
Raised in Richmond
Edgar Allan Poe
Sold short stories and became editor of Southern Literary Messenger and married Virginia
Edgar Allan Poe
Wife died of tuberculosis and was found in Baltimore in bad condition, later on dying
Edgar Allan Poe
One of the originators of both horror and detective fiction. “architect” of modern short story
Edgar Allan Poe
Found inspiration in music and nature
Considered the “father of free verse poetry”
Self-taught leaving school at 11 and a little published “Leaves of Grass” at own expense
Celebrated democracy, unity, and egalitarianism (“the common man”)
Promoted the idea of a transcendent god and unifying religion
New England poet
Most celebrated poet in America
Poet of traditional verse forms and metrics
Author of searching and often dark meditations on universal themes
Adherence to language as it is actually spoken, psychological complexity of his portraits, and layers of ambiguity and irony
America’s foremost realistic writer marking the beginning of modern American Naturalism
Used keen observations and personal experiences to achieve a narrative vividness and sense of immediacy
Quit college to work as reporter because “humanity was a more interesting study”
Thought people encountered only hostility in their relationships with other individuals, society, nature, and God
Usually had short, unrhymed lines with an irregular metrical pattern and was considered highly unconventional in style
Very private resulting in only a few people outside of her family knowing poetic skills until after death
Used common words, 1 – 2 syllable, and tried to compact and increase sharpness of expression
Varied rhyme schemes and meters by using weak rhymes of lines stopping short
Expressed feeling in images and metaphors
Unexplained capitalizations and punctuation especially frequent dashes