Poetry Terms

Refrain: A recurring stanza occurring in poetry that resembles the chorus of a song.

Consonance: Repetitive sounds produced by consonants within a sentence or phrase that takes place in quick succession such as in pitter, patter.

Assonance: The repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences.

End Rhyme: When a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same.

Slant Rhyme (Eye Rhyme): A type of rhyme formed by words with similar but not identical sounds such as years, yours.
Internal Rhyme: Two or more rhyming words occurring within the same line of poetry.

Ballad: A poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas. Traditional ballads are typically of unknown authorship, having been passed on orally from one generation to the next as part of the folk culture.

Lyric Poetry: A type of highly emotional poetry with a set rhyme scheme and meter detailing themes of unrequited love or death.

Ode: A lyric poem that highly praises an object or person.

Elegy: A lyric poem written to commemorate the dead.

Pastoral Poetry: A type of poetry with a set rhyme scheme and meter that praises rural, or country, life.

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.

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.