Poetry Terminology Forms How to Read Poetry What is poetry? Poetry is a type of literature in which words are chosen and arranged to
create a certain effect. Poets use a variety of sound devices, imagery, and figurative language to express emotions and ideas. Terminology Alliteration The repetition of consonant sounds at
the beginnings of words. Example: The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, went envying her and me Edgar Allan Poe, Annabel Lee Assonance The repetition of vowel sounds within
non-rhyming words. Example: My grandmothers are full of memories / Smelling of soap and onions and wet clay Margaret Walker, Lineage
Ballad A poem that tells a story (a narrative poem) and is meant to be sung or recited. Blank Verse Unrhymed poetry written in iambic pentameter. That is, each line of blank
verse has five pairs of syllables. Blank verse, the most versatile of poetic forms, imitates the natural rhythm of English speech. Blank verse was commonly used by Shakespeare. Couplet A rhymed pair of lines.
Epic A long, narrative poem about the adventures of a hero whose actions reflect the ideals and values of a nation or race. Extended Metaphor A figure of speech that compares two
essentially unlike things at some length and in several ways. It does not contain the word like or as. Figurative Language Language that communicates ideas beyond the ordinary, literal meanings of words. Types of figurative language include
personification, hyperbole, simile, and metaphor. Form The way a poem is laid out on the page. The length and placement of the lines and the grouping of lines into stanzas. Free Verse
Poetry that does not contain a regular pattern of rhyme and meter. The lines of free verse poetry often flow more naturally than do rhymed, metrical lines. Hyperbole A figure of speech in which the truth is
exaggerated for emphasis or for humorous effect. Iambic Pentameter A metrical line of five feet, or units, each of which is made up of two syllables, the first unstressed and the second stressed. Iambic pentameter is the most common
form of meter used in English poetry; it is the meter used in blank verse and the sonnet. Imagery Descriptive words or phrases that recreate sensory experiences for the reader. Imagery usually appeals to one or more
of the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Lyric Poem A short poem in which a single speaker expresses personal thoughts and feelings. Most poems other than dramatic monologues or narrative poems are
lyrics. Metaphor A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two things that are basically unlike but that have something in common. Metaphors do not use like or as. All the worlds a stage, and all the men
and women merely players William Shakespeare, As You Like It Meter The regular pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in a line of poetry. The accented, or stressed, syllables are
marked with , while the unaccented, or unstressed, syllables are marked with . Narrative Poem A poem that tells a story. They have characters, setting, plot, and point of view, all of which combine to
develop a theme (just like a narrative story). Onomatopoeia The use of words such as pow, buzz, and crunch whose sounds suggest their meanings. Personification
A figure of speech in which human qualities are attributed to an object, animal, or idea. Refrain The repetition of one or more lines in each stanza of a poem.
Repetition A technique in which a sound, word, phrase, or line is repeated for effect or emphasis. Rhyme The occurrence of a similar or identical sound and the end of two or more
words. There are different types of rhyme, such as internal rhyme, end rhyme, and slant rhyme. Well talk about these later. Rhyme Scheme The pattern of end rhyme in a poem. The pattern is charted by a single letter of the alphabet, beginning with the letter
A. Lines that rhyme the same are given the same letter. Rhythm The pattern or flow of sound created by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry. By definition, rhythm is similar to meter. The terms are very closely related.
Simile A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two things using the word like or as. Sonnet A lyric poem of 14 lines, commonly written in
iambic pentameter. The sonnet may be classified as Petrarchan or Shakespearean. The Shakespearean sonnet consists of three quatrains (four-line units), and a final couplet (two-line unit) The typical rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. Sound Devices The use of words for their auditory
effect to convey meaning and mood or to unify a work. Common sound devices are alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, repetition and rhyme. Stanza A grouping of two or more lines in a
pattern that is repeated throughout a poem. A stanza is comparable to a paragraph in prose writing. Each stanza may have the same number of lines, or the number of lines may vary. Structure In poetry, structure refers to the
arrangement of words and lines to produce a desired effect. A common structural unit in poetry is the stanza. Symbol A person, place, activity, or object that stands for something beyond itself.
Understatement A technique of creating emphasis by saying less than is actually or literally true. Understatement is the opposite of hyperbole, or exaggeration. Poetic Forms
Common Poetic Forms Sonnet (Italian and English) Petrarchan
Shakespearean Spenserian Ballad (English) Haiku (Japanese) Jintishi (a Chinese
Villanelle (English) Rondeau (French) Ghazal (Arabian, Persian, Urdu and Bengal) Sijo (Korean) Common Poetic Forms Most of these forms have faded from
popularity, and are not commonly used by modern poets. A majority of the poetry we will study is written in free-verse, which requires no rhyme scheme, meter, or specific form. Most older forms, such as the ones mentioned previously, have highly-structured forms and rhyme schemes. Did you know
There are actually 51 recorded forms of poetry. Fortunately, were not studying them all! How to Read Poetry Understanding What Poetry Means Most people find poetry more difficult to
understand than prose writing. This is most likely because the authors manipulate word order and language to create a desired effect, such as rhythm, meter, or rhyme. Understanding What Poetry Means Do not treat poetry as poetry. Treat it as
prose. Do not interpret line-by-line. Instead, read sentence-by-sentence, or read until the poet inserts some form of end punctuation (a semicolon, period, etc.) Interpret the poetry in chunks. Interpret the meaning of one stanza before moving on to the next. Interpret individual stanzas before trying to determine the meaning of an entire poem.
Understanding the Form of Poetry Observe the arrangement of words. Often, this is done for a reason. Notice the length and arrangement of lines. Are the lines short, simple phrases, or do they resemble sentences? What visual effect does this have on you? Note whether the lines are grouped into
stanzas. If they are, what idea, emotion, or information does each stanza convey? Understanding and Analyzing Sound in Poetry Read the poem aloud, listening to how it sounds. Notice any internal or end rhymes. Is there a rhyme scheme?
Analyze the rhythm. How does it add to the effect of the poem? Look for other sound devices the poet uses, such as alliteration, assonance, or onomatopoeia. Understanding the Speaker Look for clues that reveal something about the speaker, or narrator.
Connect the speakers feelings, ideas, and values to your own to form an impression of the speaker. Understanding Imagery and Figurative Language Visualize comparisons that are made, either by means of similes or metaphors.
How do they contribute to the overall effect of the poem? Look for the use of personification. Notice if an animal or object is described as having human features, characteristics, or emotions.
Often this can be spotted by words that are capitalized that normally shouldnt be. Understanding Imagery and Figurative Language Use a chart (like the one below) to keep track of imagery. Determine which of the senses (sight, touch, smell, taste, or hearing) the poet is appealing to, as well as the effects the
imagery has on you. Image Sense It Appeals To Its Effect on Me
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