Literary Elements of Poetry

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Last updated: November 24, 2019

Accent
refers to the stressed portion of a word. An accent is used to place emphasis on a word. “accent” and “stress” can be used interchangeably.

Allegory
a description that has a second, usually moral meaning

Alliteration
the repetition of initial consonant sounds. If it is a vowel repetition, you would call it assonance.)

Assonance
repetition of a vowel sound in any part of a word, usually the middle, adds to euphony

Allusion
refers to an event from an content–art, music, literature, history, mythology

Apostrophe
address to an object, person, or idea who is not present as though he,she, or it could reply

Antithesis
the juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas to create a feeling of balance

Aubade
poetry referring to either the dawn, a love song or about parting lovers

Caesura
a cut or break in a line, could be a comma, space, or semi-colon

Cacophony
harsh sounding and generally unpleasant

Consonance
the repetition of consonant sounds not in the beginning of a word

Didactic poetry
poetry with a directly moral teaching purpose

Euphony
pleasant sounding

Extended figure
an apostrophe, simile, metaphor which is developed throughout the poem

Imagery
language which appeals to the five senses

Visual Imagery
imagery which appeals to sight

Aural Imagery
imagery which appeals to sound

Olfactory Imagery
imagery which appeals to smell

Gustatory Imagery
imagery which appeals to taste

Tactile Imagery
imagery which appeals to touch

Organic Imagery
imagery which appeals to human sensations such as hunger

Irony
dramatic or otherwise, conveying an aspect that is intrinsically unexpected

Metaphor
a comparison between two unlike things without using the words “like” or “as.”

Onomatopoeia
words which are written to mimic a sound, such as SPLAT! PLOP!

Paradox
a statement which appears to contradict itself but makes sense

Personification
animals and inanimate objects given human characteristics

Phonetic Intensive
a word whose sound emphasizes its meaning

Prose
Language which is not in meter

Refrain
a repeated line, phrase, sentence which appears through the poem

Scansion
the process of measuring verse

Simile
the comparison of two subjects using “like” or “as” or something similar

Tone
the writer’s attitude toward the subject

Anaphora
repetition of the same word or words from the beginning of sentences, lines, or phrases

Ars Poetica
a poem about poetry

Conceit
The comparison of two dissimilar things that extends throughout a poem

Dramatic Monologue
Speaker speaks to himself

Epiphany
realization or comprehension of the essence of something

Metonymy
subsitutes the name of one thing with something closely associated with it

Synedoche
substitutes a part of one thing to represent the whole or vice versa

Synaesthesia
a blending of sensations

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