Defined Poetry Terms

Topic: EnvironmentNatural Disasters
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Last updated: December 16, 2019
the person speaking in the poem

a grouping of the verse lines in a poem

a stanza of 4 lines

a pair of rhymed lines that are equal in length

a line or part of a line or group of lines which repeats in a poem

slant rhyme/imperfect rhyme
two words are nearly rhymed but have a slight variation in sound

internal rhyme
rhyming within the same line

use of the dictionary definition of a word

the array of positive and negative associated, secondary or emotional meanings of a word

a line with no pause or end punctuation that continues on to the next line

a reference to a historical, mythic or literary person, place, event

repeated words or phrases to stress a particular word or idea

a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis

juxtaposing two sharply contradictory things

The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words: “What would the world be, once bereft/Of wet and wildness?” (Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Inversnaid”)

repeated consonant sounds

repeated vowel sounds (like stony and holy)

repetition of the “s” sound; like a hissing effect

A figure of speech (or rhetorical figure) in which words and phrases with opposite meanings are balanced against each other; an example of antithesis is “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” (Alexander Pope)

The continuation of a complete idea (a sentence or clause) from one line to the next line without a pause (including such a continuation across stanzas); an example of enjambment can be found in the first line of Joyce Kilmer’s poem Trees: “I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree”

A figure of speech in which deliberate exaggeration is used for emphasis; many everyday expressions are examples of hyperbole: tons of money, waiting for ages, a flood of tears, etc. Hyperbole is the opposite of litotes

Irony (Verbal)
Saying the opposite of what is meant

A figure of speech in which two things are compared, usually by saying one thing is another, or by substituting a more descriptive word for the more common or usual word that would be expected; some examples of metaphors: all the world’s a stage; he was a lion in battle

The arrangement of a line of poetry by the number of syllables and the rhythm of accented (or stressed) syllables

A figure of speech in which words are used to imitate sounds; examples of onomatopoeic words are buzz, hiss, zing, clippety-clop, and tick-tock; Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” not only uses onomatopoeia, but calls our attention to it: “Forlorn! The very word is like a bell/To toll me back from thee to my sole self!”; another example of onomatopoeia is found in this line from Tennyson’s Come Down, O Maid: “The moan of doves in immemorial elms,/And murmuring of innumerable bees.” The repeated “m/n” sounds reinforce the idea of “murmuring” by imitating the hum of insects on a warm summer day

A figure of speech in which things or abstract ideas are given human attributes: dead leaves dance in the wind, blind justice.

internal rhyme
a word at the end of the line rhymes with a word in the interior of the line

rhyme scheme
a pattern of rhyming lines in a poem

A figure of speech in which two things are compared using the word “like” or “as.” An example of a simile using like occurs in Langston Hughes’s poem “Harlem”: “What happens to a dream deferred?/ Does it dry up/ like a raisin in the sun?”

Objects, characters, or ideas that stand for specific meanings, themes, concepts, or other abstractions; the whale in the novel Moby Dick symbolized humans battle with the forces of nature

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