Lit poetic terms

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Accent
The prominence or emphasis given to a syllable or word. In the word poetry, the accent (or stress) falls on the first syllable.
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Alliteration
The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words:
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Antithesis
A figure of speech in which words and phrases with opposite meanings are balanced against each other. An example of antithesis is “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” (Alexander Pope)
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Assonance
The repetition or a pattern of similar sounds, especially vowel sounds:
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Bard
The definition of a Bard is a Gaelic maker and signer of poems.
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Ballad
A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend and often has a repeated refrain
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Blank verse
Poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in blank verse.
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Cacophony
Lewis Carroll makes use of cacophony in 'Jabberwocky' by using an unpleasant spoken sound created by clashing consonants.
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Caesura
A natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line.
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Carpe diem
A Latin expression that means "seize the day." Carpe diem poems have the theme of living for today.
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Conceit
A fanciful poetic image or metaphor that likens one thing to something else that is seemingly very different.
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Consonance
The repetition of similar consonant sounds, especially at the ends of words, as in lost and past or confess and dismiss.
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Connotation
connotation is What a word suggests beyond its basic definition. The words childlike and childish both mean 'characteristic of a child,' but childlike suggests meekness and innocence
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Couplet
In a poem, a pair of lines that are the same length and usually rhyme and form a complete thought. Shakespearean sonnets usually end in a couplet.
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Denotation
Denotation is the basic definition or dictionary meaning of a word.
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Dialect
Dialect refers to pronunciation of a particular region of a Country or region.
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Doggerel
Doggerels are a light verse which is humorous and comic by nature.
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Elision
Elision refers to the leaving out of an unstressed syllable or vowel, usually in order to keep a regular meter in a line of poetry for example 'o'er' for 'over'.
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Elegy
A poem that laments the death of a person, or one that is simply sad and thoughtful. An example of this type of poem is Thomas Gray's “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.”
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Enjambment
The continuation of a complete idea (a sentence or clause) from one line or couplet of a poem to the next line or couplet without a pause. An example of enjambment can be found in the first line of Joyce Kilmer's poem Trees: “I think that I shall nev
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Epic
A long, serious poem that tells the story of a heroic figure. Two of the most famous epic poems are the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer, which tell about the Trojan War and the adventures of Odysseus on his voyage home after the war.
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Epitaph
An epitaph is a commemorative inscription on a tomb or mortuary monument written in praise of a deceased person.
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Euphony
Euphony refers to pleasant spoken sound that is created by smooth consonants such as "ripple'.
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Euphemism
Euphemism is the use of a soft indirect expression instead of one that is harsh or unpleasantly direct. For example, 'pass away' as opposed to 'die'
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Figure of speech
A verbal expression in which words or sounds are arranged in a particular way to achieve a particular effect. A figure of speech in which deliberate exaggeration is used for emphasis. Many everyday expressions are examples of hyperbole: tons of money
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Haiku
A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Haiku reflects on some aspect of nature.
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Hyperbole
A hyperbole is a literary device wherein the author uses specific words and phrases that exaggerate and overemphasize the basic crux of the statement in order to produce a grander, more noticeable effect.
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Iambic pentameter
Shakespeare's plays were written mostly in iambic pentameter, which is the most common type of meter in English poetry. It is a basic measure of English poetry, five iambic feet in each line.
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Idiom
Idiom refers to words, phrases, or patterns of expression. Idioms became standard elements in any language, differing from language to language and shifting with time. A current idiom is 'getting in a car' but 'on a plane'.
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Idyll
Either a short poem depicting a peaceful, idealized country scene, or a long poem that tells a story about heroic deeds or extraordinary events set in the distant past. Idylls of the King, by Alfred Lord Tennyson, is about King Arthur and the Knights
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Imagery
Imagery draws the reader into poetic experiences by touching on the images and senses which the reader already knows.
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Irony
Irony is a situation, or a use of language, involving some kind of discrepancy. An example of this is ''Water, water everywhere but ne'er a drop to drink'.
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Jargon
Jargon refers to words and phrases developed by a particular group to fit their own needs which other people understand.
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Lyric
A poem, such as a sonnet or an ode, that expresses the thoughts and feelings of the poet. The term lyric is now generally referred to as the words to a song.
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Metaphor
A metaphor is a pattern equating two seemingly unlike objects. An examples of a metaphor is 'drowning in debt'.
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Meiosis
Meiosis is a figure of speech that consists of saying less than one means, or of saying what one means with less force than the occasion warrants.
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Narrative Poetry
Ballads, epics, and lays are different kinds of narrative poems.
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Onomatopoeia
A figure of speech in which words are used to imitate sounds. Examples of onomatopoeic words are buzz, hiss, zing, clippety-clop, and tick-tock.
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Paradox
Seemingly absurd statement which, on closer examination, reveals an important truth
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Pastoral
A poem that depicts rural life in a peaceful, idealized way.
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Persona
A dramatic character, distinguished from the poet, who is the speaker of a poem.
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Personification
A figure of speech in which things or abstract ideas are given human attributes: dead leaves dance in the wind, blind justice.
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Quatrain
A stanza or poem of four lines. Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme. Lines 1 and 3 may or may not rhyme. Rhyming lines should have a similar number of syllables.
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Rhyme
A rhyme has the repetition of the same or similar sounds at the end of two or more words most often at the ends of lines.
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Rhythm
Rhythm is the pattern of stresses within a line of verse. All spoken word has a rhythm formed by stressed and unstressed syllables. When you write words in a sentence you will notice patterns forming.
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Simile
A figure of speech in which two things are compared using the word "like" or "as" to draw attention to similarities about two things that are seemingly dissimilar.
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Slang
Slang refers to highly informal and sub-standard vocabulary which may exist for some time and then vanish. Some slang remains in usage long enough to become permanent, but slang never becomes a part of formal diction.
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Sonnet
A 14-line poem with a variable rhyme scheme originating in Italy and brought to England by Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, earl of Surrey in the 16th century. Literally a “little song,” the sonnet traditionally reflects upon a single sentiment, wi
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Stanza
Two or more lines of poetry that together form one of the divisions of a poem. The stanzas of a poem are usually of the same length and follow the same pattern of meter and rhyme.
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Stress
Stress refers to the accent or emphasis, either strong or weak, given to each syllable in a piece of writing, as determined by conventional pronunciation.
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Syntax
Syntax refers to word order and sentence structure. Normal word order in English sentences is firmly fixed in subject-verb-object sequence or subject-verb-complement. In poetry, word order may be shifted around to meet emphasis, to heighten the conne
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Understatement
Understatement refers to the intentional downplaying of a situation's significance, often for ironic or humorous effect.
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Verse
A single metrical line of poetry, or poetry in general (as opposed to prose).
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Card 2

Front

The repetition of the same or similar sounds at the beginning of words:

Back

Alliteration

Card 3

Front

A figure of speech in which words and phrases with opposite meanings are balanced against each other. An example of antithesis is “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” (Alexander Pope)

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

The repetition or a pattern of similar sounds, especially vowel sounds:

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

The definition of a Bard is a Gaelic maker and signer of poems.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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