ENG 231 Poetry Glossary Terms

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Last updated: December 10, 2019

alliteration
The repetition of initial consonant sounds or of the same consonant.

anapest
unit of measurement with three syllables: first two unstressed, and the last one stressed.

apostrophe
Address to an absent figure or thing as if it were present or could listen.

assonance
Repetition in words of proximity of identical vowel sounds preceded and followed by different consonant sounds.

blank verse
Unrhymed iambic pentameter.

consonance
Repetition of similar sounds, especially consonants, in close proximity.

dactyl
Unit of measurement with three syllables: the first stressed, the other two unstressed.

diction
Most simply, word choice. In poetry the use of a whole range of language including figurative language: metaphor, etc.

dramatic monologue
Speech (usually in a poem) spoken entirely by one character to an implied audience. The speech reveals not only a situation but, sometimes unwittingly, the personality or character flaws of the speaker.

elegy
A poem that meditates on death or, less commonly, on loss that comes with time, characterized by solemn tone and formal style

english sonnet
Also known as the Shakespearean sonnet, poem of 14 lines with abab cdcd efef gg rhyme scheme.

foot
The basic unit of measurement in a line of poetry.

free verse
Unrhymed lines of varying length with no fixed metrics.

haiku
Japanese form with three lines of five, seven, and five syllables.

hyperbole
Figurative language using deliberate overstatement for effect.

iamb
Unit of measurement with two syllables: first unstressed, then stressed.

italian sonnet
Also known as Petrarchan sonnet, poem of 14 lines with abbaabba cdecde rhyme scheme.

lyric
A brief, subjective poem marked by imagery, melody, and emotion, and creating a single, unified impression (Harmon).

metaphor
The imaginative comparison of two unlike things, usually so that the qualities of the thing being compared can be made more vivid or meaningful.

The key to —- is in the implicit identification of the two terms (eyes are pools),saying what otherwise cannot be said. Simile is a — introduced by the terms “like” or “as,” different only in intensity of comparison.

meter
In English poetry, the pattern of stressed sounds.

metonymy
Figurative language in which a world or phrase stands not for itself but for something closely related to it.

ode
Complicated, dignified lyric poem exalting someone or something (a season, an urn). Best exemplified in pre-20th century English poetry derived from classical forms: Pindaric, Horatian, Irregular.

onomatopoeia
Use of words that imitate sounds.

Paradox
An apparent deep or absurd contradiction, used at times to suggest emotional or spiritual truth. Local form is oxymoron, in which two contradictory words are combined: “Jumbo shrimp”

Personification
A type of metaphor in which something nonhuman is given human traits.

prosody
The study of the art of versification, including its diction, sound effects, and patterns.

pyrrhic
Unit of measurement with two syllables: both unstressed.

rhyme
Repetition of the identical or similar stressed sound(s). Eye—– denotes sounds that are not identical but look as though they should be (come-home). Half——/slant —— is repetition in accented syllables of the final consonant sound but without identity in the preceding vowel sound (mirth-forth).

rhythm
Stresses at regular intervals.

run on line
Also known as enjambment, a line that carries its sense carried over into the the next line without a syntactical pause.

satire
Ridicule of human foibles, pride, or evil in order to correct (this motive of reaffirming correct social standards of behavior is not always present but was part of ancient —).

sestina
Poem of six six-line stanzas in which the words at the end of the first six lines are repeated in a specific, shifting order throughout.

spondee
unit of measurement with two syllables: both stressed

synaesthesia
Presenting ideas, characters or places in such a manner that they appeal to more than one sense, like hearing, seeing, smell etc. at a given time.

synecdoche
Figure of speech in which the part signifies the whole or the whole signifies the part (he’s a good “hand” meaning the work habits of the person.

tone
In literature, the attitude of the speaker or narrator toward subject or audience

trochee
Unit of measurement with two syllables: first stressed then unstressed.

trope
Commonly occurring literary or rhetorical devices used for artistic effect.

volta
literally, a twist or turn. General term used to describe the effect of many figures of speech like metaphors, which turn the meaning of a word.

villanelle
Poem in five tercets (aba) and a final quatrain (abaa) featuring the repetition of lines one and three at designated points in each stanza.

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