Basic Elements of Poetry

Topics: ArtSymbolism

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Last updated: November 26, 2019

Persona
Voice behind the poem establishing a point of view (the poem’s narrator)

Diction
Choice of words

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Imagery
Verbal expression of sensory detail (visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, or olfactory)

Symbolism
Representation in which an object or action represents something beyond itself

Metre
Measured pattern of rhyme in a line of poetry – patterns of stressed and unstressed vowel sounds

Rhyme
Correspondence of terminal sounds of words or of lines of verse

Pararhyme
Approximate rhyme

Apostrophe
A direct address of an inanimate object, abstract qualities, or a person not living or present. Example: “Beware, O Asparagus, you’ve stalked my last meal.”

Hyperbole
Exaggeration for emphasis (opposite of understatement)

Metaphor
Example: “[Love] is an ever fixed mark, / that looks on tempests and is never shaken.”

Synecdoche
Referring to the whole of an object by mentioning part of it

Assonance
The repetition of similar vowel sounds. Example: “I rose and told him of my woe.”

Consonance
The repetition of the same consonant sounds

Sibilance
Repetition of [s] [z] [sh] [zh] [ch] sounds

Elision
The omission of an unstressed vowel of syllable to preserve the meter of a line.

Example: “Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame.”

Allusion
Reference to a a person, event or work outside the poem

Stanza
Unit of a poem often repeated in the same form throughout the poem; a unit of poetic lines (verse)

Blank verse
Unrhymed lines with the same rhythm of and number of syllables

Free verse
Lines with no prescribed pattern or structure

Couplet
Pair of line, usually rhymed

Quatrain
Four-line stanza or a grouping of four lines of verse

Sonnet
Fourteen line poem in iambic pentameter with a prescribed rhyme scheme; its subject is traditionally of love. Usually of octet-sestet structure

Octet
A group of eight lines in poetry

Sestet
Group of six lines in poetry

Inversion
Swapping the natural word order in a line or sentence. Example: “Blessed are the meek.”

Anaphora
Repetition of the same word at the start of several lines

Emotive Language
A.

K.A. ‘Loaded Language.

” Langauge intended to evoke and emotional response

Synonym
A word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase

Antonym
A word opposite in meaning to another

Homonym
Words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling; a homophone

Neologism
Invention of a new word

Malapropism
The mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect

Tautology
The saying of the same thing twice in different word, usually considered to be a fault in style. Example: “The arrived one after the other in succession.”

Colloquialism
A word or phrase that is not formal or literary, typically one used in ordinary or familiar conversation.

Allegory
The device of using character and/or story elements symbolically to represent an abstraction in addition to the literal meaning.

Homily
A sermon on a moral or religious topic

Syllogism
A deductive system of formal logic that presents two premises that inevitably lead to a sound conclusion. A=B, B=C, so A=C. “All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal.”

Tone
A poem’s tone is the attitude that its style implies. Can/often does change throughout a poem

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