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Compiled Poetry terms
1. Denotation- The literal definition of a word; its
stripped-down meaning devoid of connotation
2. Connotation- The associations and attitudes called up
by a word, as opposed to its denotation or straight,
literal definition. For instance, the words “aroma” and
“odor” both denote a “scent” but each word has a
different connotation: “aroma” connotes a rich,
pleasing scent, whereas “odor” suggests something
pungent and foul-smelling.
3. Imagery- A literal or concrete detail that speaks to the
physical senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch.
Example: “The moon goes over the water…the old
shimmer from the river” Half Moon by Federico
4. Metaphor – a comparison between two essentially
unlike things. With metaphor, the speaker treats one
thing as if it were another, without the use of “like” or
“as” as in these Emily Dickinson lines: “Hope is the
thing with feathers/ that perches in the soul.” The
author uses a metaphor to convey his meaning in
the poem A Litany in Time of Plague on in the line,
“Beauty is but a flower” Also, Living Tenderly (My
body a rounded stone/with a pattern of smooth seams)
5. Simile - a comparison between two essentially unlike
things, using “like” or “as” or “as if”: “My love is like
a red, red, rose.” Unlike the implied comparison of a
metaphor, a simile says outright that something is like
something else. In the poem “Refugee Ship” the
author is comparing herself to slippery wet
cornstarch in the line, “Like wet cornstarch, I
6. Personification: figurative language that endows
something nonhuman with human qualities
Example: “she is a cool seduction, wrapping blue
thunder around slick brown shoulders” – “The Ocean”
by Laura St. Martin
7. Symbol: an object or action that has acquired a
meaning beyond itself.
Example: “And if the sun comes, how shall we greet
him? Shall we not dread him, shall we not fear him?”
– “Truth” by Gwendolyn Brooks
8. Blank Verse-Unrhymed iambic pentameter.
Commonly used for long poems, blank verse has been
employed by many poets over the ages. An example of
a poet using blank verse is in the poem “The Preacher
Ruminates Behind the Sermon”.
9. Sonnet-An elaborately crafted fourteen-line poem in
iambic pentameter. An example of a sonnet is “On
First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” By John Keats.
You should primarily understand the Petrarchan and
Shakespearean sonnets and where in the poem the
“turn” or “twist” occurs.
Free Verse- Poetry with no strong, regular
pattern of meter or rhyme. An example of a poem
done in free verse is “This is Just to Say” By William
Carlos Williams.
Allusion—A reference in a poem to a historical
or literary character, event, idea, or place outside the
work. The most common sources of allusion tend to
be the Bible, Greek and Roman mythology, and
Shakespeare. An example of allusion occurs in the
poem “Grass” by Carl Sandburg when the speaker
says “Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo,”
referring to famous battles.
Hyperbole—A figure of speech using extreme
exaggeration. For example, the simile “He’s as strong
as an ox.”
Onomatopoeia—The use of a word that sounds
like its meaning, or the sound it stands for, such as
pop, hiss, or buzz.
Repetition—the repeating of words or phrases in
a poem, like a refrain in a song. “The Ballad of red
Rhyme—echo or repetition of vowel sounds.
End rhyme—words at the end of lines rhyming.
Near-rhyme: words that almost rhyme. Internal
rhyme: words within a line rhyme.