Poetry Terms Master List

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Last updated: November 24, 2019

alliteration
the repetition of identical or similar consonant sounds, normally at the beginnings of words. “Peter Piper picked”

allusion
a reference in a work of literature to a well-known historical event, person, or literature: “D’oh,” Homer Simpson

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assonance
the repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds.

“Acid acts”

consonance
the repetition of similar consonant sounds in a group of words when it is not the initial letter. “The tide rises, the tide falls”

couplet
a two-line stanza, usually with end-rhymes the same.

elegy
a poem about death or another sad theme.

figurative language
writing that uses figures of speech (as opposed to literal language) such as metaphor, personification, and simile.

hyperbole
an exaggeration

irony
when the opposite of what you would expect occurs: Fahrenheit 451

metaphor
a comparison is expressed without “as,” “like,” or “than.

octave
an eight-line stanza

personification
gives inanimate objects or abstract ideas human characteristics: “the trees danced”

pun
a play on words that are identical or similar in sound but have diff. meanings: “soul/ sole”

rhyme
words that sound the same at the end or middle of a line of poetry

simile
comparing two objects, usually with “like,” “as,” or “than.”

stanza
a grouping of lines

style
the characteristic manner of expression of an author

symbol
something that is simultaneously itself and a sign of something else: “dove”=”peace”

syntax
The ordering of words into patterns or sentences.

Always read your poem to the punctuation if there is any!!!

theme
the main thought expressed by a work. In poetry, it is the abstract concept which is made concrete through its representation in person, action, and image in the work

tone
the attitude of the speaker towards their subject

understatement
the opposite of hyperbole. It is a kind of irony that deliberately represents something as being much less than it really is.

auditory imagery
words in a work that depict hearing: “birds chirp”

tactile imagery
words in a work that depict touch: “sticky”

visual imagery
words in a work that depict sight: “radiant”

olfactory imagery
words in a work that depict smell: “acrid”

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