Poetry Terms

Stanza: A group of lines in a poem

Alliteration: The repetition of words that have the same first consonant sounds either next to each other or close together

Rhyme: Two or more words or phrases that end in the same sound.

Allusion: A casual or indirect reference to something else such as another work of literature, a historical event, a biblical story, or mythology.

Symbol: An object or idea that represents or stands for something else— especially a material object having a deeper meaning.

Figurative Language: Using figures of speech to be more effective, persuasive and impactful. Figures of speech such as metaphors, similes, allusions go beyond the literal meanings of the words to give the readers visual images.

Hyperbole: A figure of speech that is an extreme exaggeration in order to create emphasis.

Repetition: A literary device that repeats the same words or phrases a few times to make an idea clearer.

Meter: Meter is a unit of rhythm in poetry, the pattern of the beats. It is also called a foot. Each foot has a certain number of syllables in it, usually two or three syllables. The difference in types of meter is which syllables are accented and which are not.

Feet: The combination of stressed and unstressed syllables.

Iambic Pentameter: A specific type of foot is an iamb. A foot is an iamb if it consists of one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, so the word “remark” is an iamb. “Pent” means five, so a line of iambic pentameter consists of five iambs – five sets of unstressed syllables followed by stressed syllables.

Blank Verse: A literary device defined as un-rhyming verse written in iambic pentameter.

Sonnet: A poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes, in English typically having ten syllables per line.

Shakespearean Sonnet: The sonnet form used by Shakespeare, composed of three quatrains and a terminal couplet in iambic pentameter with the rhyme pattern abab cdcd efef gg.

Simile: A figure of speech that makes a comparison and shows similarities between two different things by using “like” or “as”.

Metaphor: A figure of speech that makes a direct comparison and shows similarities between two different things without using “like” or “as”.

Personification: A figure of speech in which a thing, an idea or an animal is given human attributes.

Oxymoron: A figure of speech in which two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect.

Descriptive Essay: An essay that uses similes, metaphors, and other figurative language to illustrate something in a way that the reader can see, feel, or hear whatever is being written.


From Georgia Virtual Learning source