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Poetry Terms . English I – Miss Michel. Speaker. The voice that is talking to us in a poem. Sometimes the speaker is identical with the poet, but often the speaker and the poet are not the same. The poet may be speaking as a child, a woman, a man, a whole people, an animal, or

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poetry terms

Poetry Terms

English I – Miss Michel

  • The voice that is talking to us in a poem.
  • Sometimes the speaker is identical with the poet, but often the speaker and the poet are not the same.
  • The poet may be speaking as a child, a woman, a man, a whole

people, an animal, or

even as an object.

george gray
“George Gray”

By : Edgar Lee Masters

I have studied many times

The marble which was chiseled for me –

A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor

In truth it pictures not my destination

But my life.

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;

Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;

Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.

Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.

And now I know that we must lift the sail

And catch the winds of destiny

Wherever they drive the boat.

To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,

But life without meaning is the torture

Of restlessness and vague desire --It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

  • The central idea of a work of literature
  • A theme is not the same as a subject.
  • The subject of a work can usually be expressed in a word or two: love, childhood, death, etc.
  • The theme is the idea that a writer wishes to reveal about the subject. The theme is something that can be expressed in at least one complete sentence.
what s the theme
What’s the theme?

Finding Nemo?

  • Tone is the attitude a writer takes toward an audience, a subject, or a character.
  • Tone is conveyed through a writer’s choice of words and details.
what s the tone of this picture
What’s the tone of this picture?

Sitting outside the principal’s office…

  • A group of consecutive lines in a poem that form a single unit.
  • A stanza in a poem is something like a paragraph in prose.
  • It often expresses one unit of thought.
  • Two lines are called a “couplet.”
  • Four lines are called a “quatrain.”
  • Language that appeals to the senses.
  • Most images are visual—that is, they create pictures in the reader’s mind by appealing to the sense of sight.
  • Images can also appeal to the sense of sound, touch, taste, or smell (or many senses all at once).
  • Imagery is an element in all typed of writing, but it is particularly important in poetry.
from meeting at night
From “Meeting at Night”

By: Robert Browning

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;

Three fields to cross till a farm appears;

A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch

And blue spurt of a lighted match…

refrain refrain refrain refrain
Refrain RefrainRefrainRefrain
  • A refrain is a repeated word, phrase, line, or group of lines in a poem.
  • From Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”:
    • "Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down.Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down"
figurative language
Figurative Language
  • Word or phrase that describes one things in terms of another
  • Language that is not meant to be taken literally
  • Figures of speech always involve some sort of imaginative comparison between seemingly unlike things.
  • The most common types of figurative language (though there are 250) are the simile, metaphor, and personification.
  • A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things, in which one thing becomes another thing without the words like, as, than, or resembles.
  • Example: Fame is a fickle friend.
  • Example: My mother is a monster.
  • Example: Time is a gift we should not waste.

“Stabbed in the back”

  • Figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things, using a word such as like, as, resembles, or than.
  • Example: “I wandered as lonely as a cloud.”
  • Example: “I love you like a fat kid loves cake.”

He sleeps

like a log.

  • A reference to a statement, a person, a place, or an event from literature, history, religion, mythology, politics, sports, science, or pop culture.
  • In calling one of his stories “The Gift of the Magi,” O Henry used an allusion to the wise men from the East called the Magi who presented the infant Jesus with the first Christmas gifts.
  • A kind of metaphor in which a nonhuman things or quality is talked about as if it were human.


what is personified
What is Personified?

It’s the poetry itself!

This poetry gets bored of being alone,

it wants to go outdoors to chew on the winds,

to fill its commas with the keels of rowboats . . .


Extreme exaggeration in literature and poetry. It is a figure of speech that uses exaggeration to express strong emotion or to create a comic effect.

denotation and connotation


  • The dictionary definition of a word.
  • All of the meanings, associations, or emotions that a word suggests.
Denotation and Connotation
  • Repetition of the same or very similar consonant sounds in words that are close together in poems.
from the raven
From “The Raven”

By: Edgar Allan Poe

  • In this example, the sounds “fl,”

“t,” “n,” and “w” are repeated

in lines 1 and 2, and the

“s” sound is repeated in

lines 3 and 4:

  • “Open here I flung the shutter,

when with many a flirt and flutter,

In there stepped a stately Raven

of the saintly days of yore.”

  • The use of a word whose sound imitates or suggests its meaning.
  • Onomatopoeia is so natural to us that we begin using it instinctively as children.
  • Crackle, pop, fizz, click, zoom, and chirp are all examples of onomatopoeia.
  • Onomatopoeia is an important element in poetry.
  • Repetition of accented vowel sounds, and all sounds following them, in words that are close together in a poem.
  • Choice and Voice are rhymes.
  • Tingle and Jingle are rhymes.
old mary
Old Mary

By Gwendolyn Brooks

My last defense

Is the present tense.

It little hurts me now to know

I shall not go

Cathedral-hunting in Spain

Nor cherrying in Michigan or Maine.

Exact (or Perfect) Rhyme

Approximate (or Slant) Rhyme

  • Exact rhyme is when the later part of the word or phrase is identical sounding to that of another
  • Example: “sky” and “high”
  • Approximate rhymes are rhymes that are close but not exact
  • Example: lap/shape, glorious/nefarious
end rhyme and internal rhyme
End Rhyme and Internal Rhyme

End Rhyme is when words rhyme at the end of a line.

Whose woods these are I think I know His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping hereTo watch his woods fill up with snow.

Internal Rhyme is when words rhyme within a line.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, / Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, / While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, / As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. / "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door

what kinds of rhyme
What Kinds of Rhyme?

My unusual style will confuse you a whileIf I were water, I'd flow in the NileSo many rhymes you won't have time to go for your'sJust because of applause I have to pauseRight after tonight is when I prepareTo catch another sucker-duck MC out thereMy strategy has to be tragedy,catastropheAnd after this you'll call me your majesty...