Poetry Terms and Definitions Prose: Writing that is written as sentences and paragraphs Poetry: Writing that is written

in lines and stanzas. A line is like a sentence, and a stanza is like a paragraph. A line is a single unit of meaning, and a stanza is a collection of lines that share similar meaning. Alliteration = The repetition of initial and stressed sounds at the beginnings of words or in accented syllables. Used to create melody, establish mood, or call attention to certain words. Ex: safe and sound, rough and ready, through thick and thin A tutor who tooted a flute / Tried to tutor two tutors to toot. / Said the two to the tutor, / “Is it harder to toot or / To tutor two tutors to toot?” Allusion = A reference to a person, thing, event, situation, or aspect of culture, real or fictional, past or present. May be drawn from literature, myth, history, religious texts, etc. Ex: “She’ll not be hit with Cupid’s arrow. She hath Dian’s wit” (Romeo & Juliet). Assonance = Repetition of vowel sounds followed by different consonant sounds in stressed words or syllables. Ex: opened / rose, roof / took, out / down, street / leap Blank Verse = Unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter. Ex: I know not how to tell thee who I am. / My name, dear saint, is hateful to myself, / Because it is an enemy to thee; / Had I it written, I would tear the word” (Romeo & Juliet). Connotation = The associations surrounding a word that are not part of its literal dictionary meaning. Ex: wild west Consonance = The repetition of identical consonant sounds that are preceded by different vowel sounds. Ex: A bird came down the Walk-- / He did not know I saw-- / He bit an angleworm in halves / And ate the fellow, raw

Free Verse = lines of poetry that are written without a clear rhythm or rhyme pattern. Much modern verse is free verse. Imagery = the representation of sense experiences (see, hear, touch, taste, smell). The images appeal to the senses of the reader, help re-create the experience being communicated, and suggest the emotional response. Ex: The traffic sounds—horns and bells and rags of music—flowed around the voices in her room. She remembered the feel of wind on summer nights—how it billows through the house and wafts the curtains and smells of tar and roses. Metaphor = An implied comparison (saying that something is something else). Ex: Requiem for a Modern Croesus by Lew Sarett To him the moon was a silver dollar, spun Into the sky by some mysterious hand; the sun Was a gleaming golden coin— His to purloin;... Mood = The climate of feeling or emotions in a literary work. The author’s choice of setting, details, images, and word choice all contribute to the mood. This term is defined the same way in poetry and prose writing. Ex: 8 a.m. by Duane Niatum Bringing dimension to the terrace window, the harbor, a piece of driftwood floats like an abandoned row boat among the logs and planks brought in by the winter tide.

Rain, dotting the sky with the sea, dissolves in a roll

the wake of diminished debris.

A police patrol boat glides past like a computerized shark. Its turn breaks against December wood; marks the cold with a dull thud. A thin film of pain from a discarded can

colors the fall of the next wave. Surfacing through white crystals, a mud hen splatters white dots across the water. As if the day was keeping a promise, the Elk’s Club sea-wall begins to collapse,

wipe the pier clean of ads. Onomatopoeia = The use of words having sounds that suggest their meaning or which imitate the sound associated with them. Ex: Summer Remembered by Isabella Stewart Gardner Sounds sum and summon the remembering of summers. The humming of the sun The mumbling of the honey-suckle vine The whirring in the clovered grass The pizzicato plinkle of ice in an auburn uncle’s amber glass. The whing of father’s racquet and the whack

of brother’s bat on cousin’s ball and calling voices calling voices spilling voices . . . . Personification = Assigning human characteristics to nonhuman things, or attributing life to inanimate objects. Ex: a great mosquito dance by Norman H. Russell i look down from the high bank eaten with dirt caves below close to the crumbling edges and see that the talking river is brown and angry and has risen above the beaver dam and roars with a low grumbling and eats great mouthfuls of mud.... Rhyme = The repetition of word-ending sounds. When sounds are repeated at the end of lines, they are arranged in a pattern within the poem called a rhyme scheme. Rhyme schemes are noted by assigning a capital letter to each rhymed word. For example: In “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, Robert Frost creates an AABBCCDD rhyme scheme.

Nature's first green is gold, A Her hardest hue to hold. A Her early leaf's a flower; B But only so an hour. B Then leaf subsides to leaf. C So Eden sank to grief, C So dawn goes down to day. D Nothing gold can stay. D
A rhyme occurring within a line is called an internal rhyme.

Rhythm = The arrangement of stressed and unstressed sounds in speech and writing. The rhythm of a poem may have a single dominant beat, it may be varied within the poem to fit different moods, or it may be casual and irregular like speech. Ex: There WAS a young LAdy from AUStin Who STARted to CYcle to BOSton. By PLATTE she was CROSS-eyed From TOO much moNOXide Said SHE, this is VERy exHAUSTin’. Simile = Comparing two things directly using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. Ex: May Song by Carlos Cortez Pushing up their heads Proudly Like Golden nuggets On green velvet But Lawn owners don’t love them Symbol = something concrete, such as an object, person, or place, that stands for something more abstract, such as an idea or emotion. Ex: U.S. flag stands for freedom and democracy, a red rose stands for love, a dove stands for peace. Theme = the main idea or underlying meaning of a literary work. Most often implied, not directly stated. Ex: Theme of Romeo & Juliet is that love is the victim of fate. Tone = the author’s attitude toward a subject or audience. Can be revealed through word choice and details. Differs from mood.

Ex: serious, bitter, humorous, sympathetic, whimsical, mocking, etc.

Writing about Poetry / Literary Analysis Tips: 1. Read the poem out loud.

2. What is the subject? 3. Who is the speaker? 4. What is the speaker’s attitude? 5. What is the setting? 6. What do the words mean? 7. What is the rhyme scheme? The rhythm? 8. What poetic techniques are used? 9. What is the theme? 10. What is the effect?