the repetition of a consonant sound in a line of verse or prose. Alliteration can be used at the beginning of words (initial alliteration as in “cool cats”) or internally on stressed syllables (internal alliteration as in “I met a traveler from an antique land.”).
The repetition of two or more vowel sounds in successive words, which creates a kind of rime.
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Like alliteration, the assonance may occur initially (“all the awful auguries”) or internally (“white lilacs”).
A harsh, discordant sound often mirroring the meaning of the context in which it is used. The opposite of cacophony is euphony.
the harmonious effect when the sounds of the words connect with the meaning in a way pleasing to the ear and mind. The opposite of euphony is cacophony.
An attempt to represent a thing or action by a word that imitates the sound associated with it.
A fixed form of fourteen lines, traditionally written in iambic pentameter and rimed throughout.
Also called Petrarchan sonnet, it rimes the octave (the first eight lines) a b b a a b b a; the sestet (the last six lines) may follow any rime pattern, as long as it does not end in a couplet. The poem traditionally turns, or shifts in mood or tone, after the octave.
Also called Shakespearean sonnet, it has the following rime scheme organized into three quatrains and a concluding couplet: a b a b c d c d e f e f g g. The poem may turn-that is, shift in mood or tone-between any of the rime clusters.
in a general sense, form is the means by which a literary work expresses its content. In poetry, form is usually used to describe the design of a poem.
A traditional verse form requiring certain predetermined elements of structure-for example, a stanza pattern, set meter, or predetermined line length.
A generic term that describes poetry written in a pattern of meter, rime, lines, or stanzas. A closed form adheres to a set of structure.
verse that has no set scheme-no regular meter, rime, or stanzaic pattern.
Open form has also been called free verse.
Blank verse contains five iambic feet per line (iambic pentameter) and is not rimed. (“Blank” means unrimed.)
A two-line stanza in poetry, usually rimed and with lines of equal length.
Two rimed lines of iambic pentameter that usually contain an independent and complete thought or statement. Also called heroic couplet.
A stanza consisting of four lines, it is the most common stanza form used in English-language poetry.
A long narrative poem tracing the adventures of a popular hero. Epic poems are usually written in a consistent form and meter throughout.
A very short, comic poem, often turning at the end with some sharp wit or unexpected stinger.
the basic unit of measurement in metrical poetry. Each separate meter is identified by the pattern and order of stressed and unstressed syllables in its foot.
A metrical foot in verse in which an unaccented syllable is followed by an accented one. The iambic measure is the most common meter used in English poetry.
The most common meter in English verse, five iambic feet per line. Many fixed forms, such as the sonnet and heroic couplets, employ iambic pentameter.
a metrical foot in verse in which two unstressed syllables are followed by a stressed syllable.
A metrical foot in which a stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed one.
a metrical foot in which one stressed syllable is followed by two unstressed ones. Dactylic meter is less common in English than in classical Greek and Latin.
A metrical foot of verse consisting of two stressed syllables.
verse meter based on the number of stresses per line, not the number of syllables.
An emphasis, or accent, placed on a syllable in speech. The unstressed syllable in a line verse is called the slack syllable.
The recurring pattern of stresses and pauses in a poem. A fixed rhythm in a poem is called meter.
The study of metrical structures in poetry.
A practice used to describe rhythmic patterns in a poem by separating the metrical feet, counting the syllables, marking the accents, and indicating the caesuras.
Cesura or caesura
a light but definite pause within a line of verse. Cesuras often appear near the middle of a line, but their placement may be varied for rhythmic effect.
A line of verse that does not end in punctuation, but carries on grammatically to the next line.
The use of run-on lines is called enjambment.
A line of verse that ends in a full pause, often indicated by a mark of punctuation.
two or more words that contain an identical or similar vowel sound, usually accented, with following consonant sounds (if any) identical as well (woo and stew). An exact rime is a full rime in which the sounds following the initial letters of the words are identical in sound (follow and hollow).
Also called Slant rime. A kind of rime in which the linked words share similar consonant sounds but have different vowel sounds, as in reason and raisin, mink and monk. Sometimes only the final consonant sound is identical, as in fame and room.
rime that occurs at the ends of lines, rather than within them. End rime is the most common kind of rime in English-language poetry.
Rime that occurs within a line of poetry, as opposed to end rime.
Either a rime of one-syllable words (fox and socks) or -in polysyllabic words- a rime on the stressed final syllables (con-trive and sur-vive).
A rime of two or more syllables with stress on a syllable other than the last (tur-tle and fer-tile).
A “false” rime in which the spelling of the words is alike, but the pronuunciations differ (daughter and laughter)