Poetry Terminology


    1.            Alliteration:  Musical device; repetition of the same consonant sound; usually at the beginning of words [i.e. She sells sea-shells by the sea shore]

    2.            Assertion:  A positive statement made with great confidence but with little or no proof to support it


    3.            Assonance:  musical device; repetition of vowel sounds [i.e. a fleet of street weeping geeks]

    4.            Concrete Poetry:  Poetry in which the words are arranged to look like or suggest something about the subject being presented

    5.            Connotation:  The emotions and associations that a word suggests, beyond its dictionary meaning


    7.            Denotation:  Dictionary definition of a word

    8.            Couplet:  Two rhymed lines

a.     [i.e. Hickory dickory, dock

The mouse ran up the clock]

    9.            Dramatic Poetry:  Poetry in which the speaker is clearly someone other than the poet. 

10.            Exaggeration:  To take an idea to ridiculous limits


11.            Hyperbole (HI-per-bowl-ee):  super exaggeration; exaggeration on steroids

12.            Figurative Language:  Opposite of literal language; uses figures of speech ; crafted language, exaggeration, comparison, simile, metaphor, etc. [i.e. my students’ faces rise above the horizon of their desks as they stare toward the brightness of knowledge]


13.            Literal Language facts & true observation [i.e. my students sit in their desks taking notes off the overhead]

14.            Free Verse:  Verse written without a regular arrangement of accented and unaccented syllables


15.            Haiku:  Consists of 3 lines of verse; 1st & 3rd line have 5 syllables; 2nd line has 7 syllables   

a.     [i.e. My students sit down

They take notes and smile now

When will the bell ring]


16.            Imagery:  The use of words to create pictures


17.            Limerick:  Humorous 5-lined poem following rhyme scheme: aabba

a.     [i.e. There once was a teacher named Borger

 Whose students did not quite adore her

 She bored them with notes

 They acted like goats

 And she never again regained order]


18.            Metaphor: Directly compares one thing to another without using “like” or “as” [i.e. she is the sun brightening my day]


19.            Simile:  Compares one thing to another using the words “like” or “as” [i.e. he is like the moon that changes all month long]

20.            Meter: The pattern of accented and unaccented syllables that form the basis of a poem’s rhythm


21.            Scansion: a way to mark the metrical patterns of poetry; usually based on stressed and unstressed syllables [i.e. What light through yonder window breaks?]


22.            Rhythm:  The pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in a poem—its beat


23.            Musical Devices:  Refers to the various ways poets use the sounds of words to enrich their poetry

24.            Mood:  The feeling that the poem creates


25.            Narrative Poetry:  Poetry that tells a story


26.            Onomatopoeia:  Use of words whose sound imitates or suggests sound [i.e. Bang. Poof. Screech.]

27.            Personification:  A figure of speech in which human qualities are given to nonhuman objects or ideas [i.e. the desk hunkered in the corner; the clock ate minutes]


28.            Point of View:  the speaker’s attitudes, opinions, and ways of looking at reality or the situation presented in the poem


29.            Poetry:  One of the three major types of literature, the others being prose and drama


30.            Paraphrase:  Restatement of a poem in the reader’s own words [i.e. summary]


31.            Quatrain:  Stanza of four lines

32.            Repetition:  Refers to the repeated use of a word or phrase


33.            Refrain: A repeated word or phrase that occurs in the same position in each stanza


34.            Sensory Words:  Words that appeal to one or more of the five senses

35.            Sonnet:  Consists of 14 lines

36.            Speaker:  The “voice” that talks to the reader—may be that of the poet or a character


37.            Stanza:  A group of verse separated from other such groups in a poem often sharing a common rhyme scheme. 


38.            Structure:  May be described in terms of its stanza, form and its meter


39.            Symbol:  Something (word, item, person) that has its own meaning but that also represents something else [i.e. Red rose = love/romance, white dove=peace]


40.            Tone:  The attitude that a poet takes toward his or her subject and readers