Poetic Terms and Devices - Methacton School District
S M R TE C S I T E ICE PO E V D A
D N SPEAKER The speaker is the voice of a poem. The speaker is often the poet, however. It may be a fictional character or even an inanimate object or other nonhuman entity. Understanding and interpreting a poem often depends upon recognizing who the speaker is, whom the speaker is addressing, and what the speakers attitude, or tone is. DICTION
Diction is a writers or speakers word choice. It is part of a writers style and may be described as formal or informal, plain or ornate, common or technical, abstract or concrete. EX: COMPARE CONNOTATION An association that a word calls to mind in addition to the dictionary meaning of the word.
DENOTATION The objective meaning of a word, independent of other associations that the word brings to mind. Many words that are similar in their dictionary meanings (denotations) are very different in their connotations. For example, Jose Garcia Villas line, Be beautiful, noble, like the antique ant, would have a very different effect if it were, Be pretty,
classy, like the old ant. Why? What do these two sets of words bring to mind? FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE Figurative language is writing or speech not meant to be taken literally. Used to express ideas in vivid or imaginative ways. Example: Emily Dickinson begins one poem with the following description of snow: It sifts from leaden sieves, It powders all the wood. By describing the snow as if it were flour, she gives us a precise and compelling picture of it.
COMPARISONS SIMILE A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two subjects using either like or as. METAPHOR A figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as though it
were something else; it suggests a comparison between the two things that are identified. PERSONIFICATION When an animal, object, force of nature, or idea is given human qualities or characteristics. Example: Edgar Lee Masters uses personification in his poem Rain in My Heart: And memory sleeps beneath the gray And windless sky
L BO M Y S An object, person, place or experience that represents something else, usually something abstract. May have more than one meaning. May change between the
beginning and the end of a work. RHYTHM AND METER Rhythm The pattern of sound created by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables. Can emphasize ceratin words or ideas and give poetry a musical quality that will help convey meaning. Can be regular or irregular. Example: Man and boy stood cheering by, And home we brought you shoulder-high. Meter A regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables
that gives a line of poetry a predictable rhythm. The basic unit of meter is the foot. RHYME Rhyme The repetition of the same stressed vowel sounds and any succeeding sounds in two or more words. Internal Rhyme Occurs within a line End Rhyme Occurs at the end of lines. Rhyme Scheme The pattern of the end rhymes. May be designated by assigning a different letter of the
alphabet to each new rhyme. ONOMATOPOEIA The use of a word or phrase that imitates or suggests the sound of what it describes. R E T I L L A
N O I AT The repetition of sounds, most often consonant sounds, at the beginnings of words. Alliteration adds emphasis to words. The frogs frolicked fantastically. The wind whistled through the trees, whispering softly.
ASSONANCE The repetition of similar vowel sounds within nonrhyming words, especially in a line of poetry. And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride. --Edgar Allan Poe, Annabel Lee PARALLELISM
The use of a series of words, phrases, or sentences that have similar grammatical form. Emphasizes items that are arranged in similar structures. N O I T I
T E P E R Sounds, words, phrases, lines or stanzas are repeated for emphasis. Lends a sense of unity and continuity to the writing. STRUCTURE The organization of images, ideas, words and lines
created through the use of rhythm, rhyme, repetition or stanzas. SONNET A lyric poem of 14 lines, almost always written in iambic pentameter and usually following strict patterns of stanza division and rhyme. Shakespeare Pablo Neruda STANZAS Octave 8 lines stanza or complete poem
Sestet 6 line stanza or complete poem Quatrain 4 line stanza or complete poem. Couplet A pair of lines that work together as a unit and usually rhyme.
TYPES OF POETRY Free Verse Poetry that has no fixed pattern of meter, line length, or stanza arrangement Lyric Poetry Expresses a speakers personal thoughts and feelings; usually short and musical Narrative Poetry Verse that tells a story. It includes ballads, epics, and shorter poems. Dramatic Poetry Uses elements of drama. One or more characters speak to themselves, other characters, or the reader. It typically includes a tense situation or emotional conflict.
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