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Poetry Terms

TermDefinition
ALLITERATION is the repetition of initial consonant sounds.
ALLUSION is a direct or indirect reference to a familiar figure, place or event from history, literature, mythology or the Bible
APOSTROPHE a figure of speech in which a person not present is addressed.
ASSONANCE is a close repetition of similar vowel sounds, usually in stressed syllables.
CLICHE an overused expression that has lost its intended force or novelty.
CONNOTATION the emotional suggestions attached to words beyond their strict definitions.
CONSONANCE the close repetition of identical consonant sounds before and after different vowels.
CONTRAST the comparison or juxtaposition of things that are different
DENOTATION the dictionary meaning of words.
EXTENDED METAPHOR an implied comparison between two things which are essentially not alike. These points of comparison are continued throughout the selection.
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Language used in such a way as to force words out of their literal meanings by emphasizing their connotations to bring new insight and feeling to the subject.
HYPERBOLE an exaggeration in the service of truth - an overstatement.
IDIOM is a term or phrase that cannot be understood by a literal translation, but refers instead to a figurative meaning that is understood through common use.
IMAGERY is the representation through language of sense experience. The image most often suggests a mental picture, but an image may also represent a sound, smell, taste or tactile experience.
IRONY is a literary device which reveals concealed or contradictory meanings.
JARGON language peculiar to a particular trade, profession or group.
JUXTAPOSITION is the overlapping or mixing of opposite or different situations, characters, settings, moods, or points of view in order to clarify meaning, purpose, or character, or to heighten certain moods, especially humour, horror, and suspense. also Contrast
METAPHOR a comparison between two things which are essentially dissimilar. The comparison is implied rather than directly stated.
METER any regular pattern of rhythm based on stressed and unstressed syllables.
MOOD see atmosphere
ONOMATOPOEIA the use of words which sound like what they mean.
OXYMORON two words placed close together which are contradictory, yet have truth in them.
PARADOX a statement in which there is an apparent contradiction which is actually true.
PERSONIFICATION giving human attributes to an animal, object or idea.
RHYME words that sound alike
RHYME SCHEME any pattern of rhymes in poetry. Each new sound is assigned the next letter in the alphabet.
RHYTHM a series of stressed or accented syllables in a group of words, arranged so that the reader expects a similar series to follow.
SIMILE a comparison between two things which are essentially dissimilar. The comparison is directly stated through words such as like, as, than or resembles.
SPEAKER the "voice" which seems to be telling the poem. Not the same as the poet; this is like a narrator.
SYMBOL a symbol has two levels of meaning, a literal level and a figurative level. Characters, objects, events and settings can all be symbolic in that they represent something else beyond themselves.
THEME is the central idea of the story, usually implied rather than directly stated. It is the writer's idea about life and can be implied or directly stated through the voice of the speaker. It should not be confused with moral or plot.
TONE is the poet's attitude toward his/her subject or readers. it is similar to tone of voice but should not be confused with mood or atmosphere. An author's tone might be sarcastic, sincere, humourous . . .
UNDERSTATEMENT this is saying less than what you mean in the service of truth.
VOICE the creating and artistic intelligence that we recognize behind any speaker.
Created by: JRog