English 2 ::Poetry Terms::

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Last updated: December 12, 2019

Alliteration
Repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginnings of words, to create smoothness and effect. (Seven silver swans swam southward.)

Assonance
Repetition of internal vowel sounds for aural effect.

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(ba- boon, gloom, soon)

Cinquain
Five lines, unrhymed with 22 total syllables in the following scheme:First line: 2, Second line: 4, Third line: 6 Fourth line: 8, Fifth line: 2.

Consonance
A variation on alliteration where the repeated consonant sounds are embedded in the line of poetry, not always at the beginning of the words.

Couplet
Two consecutive, rhymed lines of poetry, rhyme pattern: a a.

Enjambment
Continuation of meaning from one poetry line to the next.

End rhyme
Rhyme that ends a line of poetry. Nursery rhymes are gener- ally the first poems we learn, and most contain rhyme at the ends of the lines. These would also be true rhymes.

End-stop line
The opposite of enjambment.

When a line has a pause or period at the end, it is an “end-stopped line.”

Envoy
The closing tercet using all six words chosen for the sestinas and the final presentation of the three chosen words in the tritina.

Epic
Long, narrative poem, usually telling of heroic deeds, events of his- toric importance, or religious or mythological subjects. (Ex. Iliad, Beowulf, Odyssey, the Epic of Gilgamesh)

Eye rhyme
Rhyme that depends on words that have the same spelling, but are pronounced differently. They “rhyme” by the looks, but not the sound.

Fixed form
poetry that is categorized by the pattern of its lines, meter, rhythm, or stanzas. A sonnet is a fixed form of poetry because by definition it must have fourteen lines. Other fixed forms include limerick, sestina, and villanelle. However, poems written in a fixed form may not always fit into categories precisely, because writers sometimes vary traditional forms to create innovative effects.

Foot
A pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. A foot is the smallest unit of poetic measurement. Lines of poetry are divided into metrical groups called feet. Each foot will have 2 or 3 syllables.

Monometer
one foot per line

Dimeter
two feet per line

Trimeter
three feet per line

Tetrameter
four feet per line

Pentameter
five feet per line

Hexameter
six feet per line

Heptameter
seven feet per line

Octameter
eight feet per line

Free verse
Poetry without standard meter or rhyme, but rhythmical arrangement of lines for effect. Such poetry derives its rhythmic qual- ities from the repetition of words, phrases, or grammatical structures, the arrangement of words on the printed page, or by some other means.

Haiku
Japanese unrhymed poetic form with one observation in three lines, seventeen syllables.

In the Moment
Jumping right into a poem.

Line
A line of poetry is characterized by its length and meter, which are created by the number of syllables and where their stresses fall.

Metaphor
means, literally, transference. A type of figurative lan- guage where the writer transfers qualities of one thing to another thing.

One thing “is” another.

Meter
The number of feet in a line of poetry.

Ode
Form of lyric poetry characterized by giving praise or showing appreciation. Odes are written to commemorate special occasions, both glorious and horrendous, or to praise someone or something. Ex. Thomas Gray – “Ode on the Dear of a Favorite Cat, On Being Drowned in a Tub of Fishes”; “Ode to Spring”

Onomatopoeia
Words that sounds like what they represent. (Ex.

Crash, slurp, splat)

Personification
a metaphor that gives human or physical qualities to an object, animal, or idea.

Picture poems
poems arranged into particular shapes to help ex- press what the poet is describing. Poets also play with different fonts, font sizes, and spacing. Also known as pictogram poems or concrete poetry.

Poem
Literature other than prose, often with rhythm, rhyme, and lines making up stanzas.

Quatrain
Poem or stanza containing four lines and many variations of rhyme schemes, line lengths, and rhythm patterns.

Refrain
Repetition of words or phrases at the end of each stanza in poetry or song.

Rhyme
Words that sound like another word or have similar-sound- ing parts; an element often used in poetry.

Rhyme scheme
Assigning the same letters to lines of a poem that have the same end rhymes.

Rhythm
recurrence of stressed and unstressed sounds. (see foot & meter)

Scansion
recurrence of stressed and unstressed sounds. (see foot & meter)

Sestina
Six-stanza poetic form plus a three-line ending, arranged in a specific pattern. Six unrhymed stanzas of six lines each; repeat end words with these patterns:First stanza: 123456, Second stanza: 612345, Third stanza: 364125, Fourth stanza: 532614, Fifth stanza: 451362, Sixth stanza: 246531, Three line ending

Simile
a kind of metaphor that uses “like” or “as” to compare two things.

Sonnet
Lyric poem expressing one idea, containing fourteen lines of iambic pentameter and set rhyme scheme. There are three kinds of sonnets: Petrarch, Shakespeare, and Spencer.

Stanza
Group of lines of poetry, usually with a common form and spaced apart from each other, commonly called a verse.

Tercet
Three-lined poem

Terza rima
a tercet with the rhyme scheme aba, bcb, cdc, etc.

Triplet
a Tercet where all lines rhyme.

Tritina
comes from the Latin for “three.” It’s a repetitive form of po- etry that consists of three stanzas, plus an envoy.

True Rhyme
Rhyme where the vowel/consonants combinations sound the same at the end of the words. The spellings are not always the same however. When you think of rhyming words, you are think- ing of true rhymes

Villanelle
A short poem consisting of 19 lines using repetition and rhyme in a complex pattern. It uses tercets plus a quatrain (four line stanza) at the end.

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