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Poetic Features. Alliteration. The repetition of initial consonant sounds in accented syllables. Used to emphasize and link words, as well as to create musical sounds. “The fair b reeze b lew, the white f oam f lew.” -- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge). Allusion.

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alliteration
Alliteration

The repetition of initial consonant sounds in accented syllables. Used to emphasize and link words, as well as to create musical sounds.

“The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew.”

--The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge)

allusion
Allusion

An indirect reference to a person, place, thing, event, idea, that the author believes the reader to be familiar with.

Allusions add resonance to the work by offering the reader a deeper understanding.

Greek mythology, the Bible, and Shakespeare provide the most common allusions in Western literature.

apostrophe
Apostrophe
  • A figure of speech in which a speaker directly addresses an absent person or a personified quality, object, or idea.
  • “Death, be not proud…”

--John Donne

assonance
Assonance
  • The repetition of vowel sounds within two or more closely positioned words.
  • “There must be Gods thrown down and trumpets blown.”

--John Keats

ballad
Ballad

A narrative poem that tells a story usually in a straightforward way.

Traditional ballads were songs.

The theme is often tragic or contains a whimsical or fantastical element.

blank verse
Blank Verse

Unrhymed iambic pentameter (a ten-syllable line with five stresses). Resembles the natural rhythm of speech. Shakespeare wrote in blank verse.

A familiar example:

“You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!”

-The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (Shakespeare)

caesura
Caesura
  • A conscious break in a line of poetry.
  • “To err is human; || to forgive, divine.”

--Alexander Pope

*Better example?

consonance
Consonance

Repetition of consonant sounds within words that are close together.

“a frightful fiend/Doth close behind him tread.”

--The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Coleridge)

contrast
Contrast

Clarifies an idea by showing it against its opposite.

For example, youth vs. age; past vs. present; beauty vs. ugliness.

couplet
Couplet

Two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme as in Julius Caesar:

Brutus:

Farewell, good Strato. Caesar, now be still.

I killed not thee with half so good a will.

diction
Diction

Word choice.

And the writer’s plan that governs that choice.

enjambment vs end stopped
Enjambment (vs. End-Stopped)

Enjambment is when the line of a poem does not contain a pause or a stop at the end. The reader must read the next line to find the end of the statement.

In other words, a line of poetry that flows into the next line without a pause.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go,mydear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

-- e.e. cummings

figurative language
Figurative Language

Writing not meant to be taken literally. Poets use figurative language to make their writing emotionally intense and concentrated, and to state their ideas in new and interesting ways.

Includes apostrophe, hyperbole, irony, metaphor, metonymy, oxymoron, paradox, personification, simile and synecdoche.

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Foot

A unit of stressed and unstressed syllables in a poem’s meter. The following types of feet are common in English poetry:

Iamb: a foot with one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable as in the word afraid.

Trochee: one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed, as in heather.

Anapest: two unstressed followed by one stressed, disembark.

Dactyl: one stressed followed by two unstressed, solitude.

Spondee: a foot with two stressed syllables, workday.

Pyrrhic: a foot with two unstressed syllables, as in the last foot of the word unspeak / ably.

A line of poetry is described as iambic, trochaic, anapestic, or dactylic according to the kind of foot that appears most often in the line.

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Form

The shape of a poem; the way the words, lines and stanzas are arranged.

free verse
Free Verse
  • Poetry not written in a regular, rhythmical pattern, or meter.
  • Instead of having metrical feet and lines, free verse has a rhythm that suits its meaning and that uses the sounds of spoken language in lines of different lengths.
hyperbole
Hyperbole

A deliberate exaggeration or overstatement.

In ‘Song’, John Donne uses this figure of speech:

“When thou sigh’st, thou sigh’st not wind,

but sigh’st my soul away.”

iambic pentameter
Iambic Pentameter

Poetry that predominantly makes use of lines with five feet of stressed followed by unstressed syllables (iambs).

imagery
Imagery

The descriptive language used in poetry to recreate sensory experiences. It can be visual, sound, smell, tactile, or taste.

Imagery enriches writing by making it more vivid, setting a tone, suggesting emotions, and guiding readers’ reactions.

“He strikes a match—and instantly

The lovely flower of light.”

--W.W. Gibson

irony
Irony

Literary techniques that involve surprising, interesting, or amusing contradictions.

Verbal irony: say one thing but mean the opposite (think Mark Antony!)

Situational irony: when something happens that is the opposite of what is expected.

Dramatic irony: when the audience knows something that the characters do not.

lyric poem
Lyric Poem

A poem expressing the observations and feelings of a single speaker. Unlike a narrative poem, it presents an experience or single effect, but does not tell a full story.

Types of lyric poems include the elegy, the ode, and the sonnet.

metaphor
Metaphor

A comparison of one thing to another to make a description more vivid. Unlike a simile, a metaphor does not use “like” or “as,” but rather compares the two directly.

“All the world is a stage.”

--As You Like It (Shakespeare)

“death, that long sleep”

--Psalms 116

meter
Meter

The rhythmical pattern of a poem. This pattern is determined by the number and types of stresses, or beats, in each line. To describe the meter, you must scan its lines. Scanning involves marking the stressed and unstressed syllables. Each stress is marked with a slanted line and each unstressed is marked with a horseshoe symbol. The stresses are then divided by vertical lines into feet.

metonymy
Metonymy

A figure of speech that substitutes something closely related for the thing actually meant.

“The suits on Wall Street walked off with most of our savings.”

"The pen is mightier than the sword”

-- Edward Bulwer-Lytton

"We have always remained loyal to the crown."

slide26
Mood

The feeling created in the reader by a poem. May be suggested by the writer’s choice of words.

narrative poem
Narrative Poem

A poem that tells a story in verse. Includes ballads and epics.

slide28
Ode

A long, formal lyric poem with a serious theme.

Odes often honor people, commemorate events, or respond to natural scenes.

onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia

The use of words that imitate sounds.

Used to create musical effects and to reinforce meaning.

Buzz, hiss, murmur, rustle.

oxymoron
Oxymoron

A figure of speech that fuses two contradictory ideas, suggesting a paradox.

Happy grief.

Peace-keeping missile.

Bitter sweet.

Living dead.

paradox
Paradox

A statement that appears contradictory, but reveals a good deal of truth when carefully examined.

Because a paradox is surprising or even shocking, it draws the reader’s attention.

“Methinks I lied all winter, when I swore

My love was infinite, if spring make it more.”

--John Donne in ‘Love’s Growth’

“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter…”

--John Keats in ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’

personification
Personification

When a writer gives the qualities of a human being to an object, animal or idea.

Effective personification of things or ideas makes their qualities seem unified, like the characteristics of a person, and their relationship with the reader seem closer.

“Where the winds are all asleep.”

--Matthew Arnold

“The pine trees bend to listen to the autumn wind.”

--D.H. Lawrence

rhyme end and internal
Rhyme (End and Internal)

The repetition of sounds at the ends of words. End rhyme occurs when rhyming words appear at the end of the lines. Internal rhyme occurs when rhyming words fall within a line.

Exact rhyme is the use of identical rhyming sounds, as in love and dove.Slant or near rhyme is the use of sounds that are similar but not identical, as in prove and glove. The rhyme scheme is the regular pattern of rhyming words in a poem

(eg. abab).

rhythm
Rhythm

The pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in poetry.

It brings out the musical quality of language, creates a mood and emphasizes ideas.

simile
Simile

A comparison using “like” or “as.”

Christina Rossetti use simile in ‘Goblin Market’ to describe two sisters:

“Like two blossoms on one stem,

Like two flakes of new-fallen snow,

Like two wands of ivory

Tipped with gold for awful kings.”

By comparing apparently dissimilar things, the writer of a simile surprises the reader into an appreciation of the hidden similarities of the things being compared.

sonnet
Sonnet

A fourteen-line lyric poem with a single theme. Sonnets are usually written in iambic pentameter.

The Petrarchan, or Italian sonnet, is divided into two parts, an eight-line octave and a six-line sestet. The octave rhymes abbaabba, while the sestet generally rhymes cdecdeor uses some combination of cdrhymes.

The octave raises a question, states a problem, or presents a brief narrative, and the sestet answers the question, solves the problem, or comments on the narrative.

sonnet continued
Sonnet (continued)

The Shakespearean, or English, sonnet has three four-line quatrains plus a concluding couplet. The rhyme scheme of such a sonnet is usually ababcdcdefefgg.

Each of the three quatrains usually explores a different variation of the main theme. Then, the couplet represents a summarizing or concluding statement.

sound devices
Sound Devices
  • Elements of poetry that emphasize sound and give poetry its lyrical or musical nature.
  • Such as: alliteration, assonance, consonance, rhyme, and rhythm.
speaker
Speaker
  • Like the narrator of a story, the speaker is the voice that addresses the reader.
  • The speaker is not necessarily the voice of the poet.
stanza
Stanza
  • A group of lines in a poem, which is seen as a unit. Stanzas often function like paragraphs do in prose.
  • Couplet: a two-line stanza
  • Tercet: a three-line stanza
  • Quatrain: a four-line stanza
  • Cinquain: a five-line stanza
  • Sestet: six-line stanza
structure
Structure
  • The way in which a poem (or play or prose) has been put together.
  • This can include the meter pattern, stanza arrangement, the ways the ideas are developed, etc.
symbol
Symbol
  • A person, place or an object that stands for, or represents, something beyond itself, such as an abstract idea or a feeling.
  • For example: Holden’s red hunting hat, Piggy’s glasses, the conch, etc.
synecdoche
Synecdoche
  • A figure of speech in which a part of something is used to stand for the whole.
  • In the preface to his long poem entitled Milton, William Blake includes these lines: “and did those feet in ancient time / Walk upon England’s mountains green?” The “feet” stand for the whole body, and “England’s mountains green” stand for England.
syntax
Syntax
  • The arrangement of words to form sentences, or, simply, the structure of sentences.
slide45
Tone
  • A writer’s attitude toward the subject of her writing; a major factor in establishing the overall impression of a piece of writing. For example: irony, sympathy, sadness, etc.
  • Tone is created through the combination of a number of features: diction, syntax, rhythm, etc.
  • "Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know." - Camus, The Stranger
works cited
Works Cited
  • Croft, Stephen and Robert Myers, Exploring Language and Literature.Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Prentice Hall Literature. New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2002