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POETIC TERMS
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Here are the definitions of some of the most commonly used terms in poetry:

Acrostic

A poem in which the beginning, middle or last letters of each line form a word when read vertically

Alliteration

The repetition of the same consonant sound. It is used to highlight the feeling of sound or movement to intensify meaning:

“Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Pepper”

Assonance

Repetition of identical vowel sounds in order to achieve a particular effect. Long vowel sounds can slow down a line, making it sound sad and weary:

"A four foot box, a foot every year"

Ballad

A simple song written as a narrative poem which tells a story through dialogue. Most commonly written in four-line verse with a regular rhythm

Couplet

A two line stanza

Diction

The Choice of Words or Language Used

Elegy

A slow, thoughtful peom written for someone who has died

End Stopped Lines

A line of poetry with a pause or stop at the end

Enjambment

A running over of the sense and grammatical structure from one line to another, or between stanzas. The enjambed line has no punctuation at the end:

“Small round hard stones click

 under my heels”

Form

How a poem is structured or organised

Free Verse

Poetry written with lines of irregular verse and often without rhyme

Hyperbole

A figure of speech which uses exaggeration to emphasise a point

Imagery

Language that appeals to the senses. The use of pictures, figures of speech and description to suggest ideas, feelings, objects and actions which create a vivid picture in your mind

Metaphor

An image where one thing is said to be something else. Like the simile, it is based on a point of similarity, but this image identifies them completely:

“Stick is the whip”

Onomatopoeia

Sounds of words which mime or resemble the sounds of the object being described

Personification

The effect created when a non-human object or quality is written about as if it were a human being

Pun

A play on words. Two different meanings are drawn out of a single word, usually for comedy

Rap

A popular song form which utilises several poetic devices, most notably play of language within a strict rhythmic scheme

Refrain

A recurring line or phrase, especially at the end of a verse

Repetition

Repeating a sound, a word, or a phrase for effect

Rhyme

The use of words with matching sounds, usually at the end of each line

Rhythm

The movement of syllables within a line or verse

Quatrain

A four line stanza (traditionally the most popular)

Simile

A comparison of one thing with another, where the words ‘like’ or ‘as’ are used

Sonnet

A fourteen line poem, written in iambic pentameter. Traditionally about the theme of love

Stanza

A group of lines of verse, arranged in a particular way

Symbol

The use of something to represent something else, but on a deeper symbolic level e.g. Red to symbolise passion, lust etc.

Theme

The subject, concerns, issues or ideas within a piece of literature

Tone

The feeling, mood, voice, attitude, manner or outlook of a piece of writing. Ask how the author is speaking to you; what would their voice sound like?

Triplet

A three-lined stanza

Voice

The speaker in a poem - either the poet's own voice or a character created by the poet

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