A-Z Poetry Terms

(This article was originally published in the April 2018 issue of Paper Jam and was written by Nicole H.)


Allegory: a long metaphor where the characters, places, and objects in a narrative have a figurative meaning.


Alliteration: close repetition of consonant sounds.


Assonance: close repetition of vowel sounds.


Couplet: a stanza of 2 lines, which often rhyme with each other


Concrete poetry: verse that emphasizes non-linguistic elements in its meaning, such as a typeface that creates a visual image of the topic.


Diction: diction is usually used to describe the level of formality that a speaker uses and is often referred to as the words a writer uses.


Epic: a long narrative poem in which a heroic protagonist engages in an action of great mythic or historical significance.


Free verse: non-metrical, non-rhyming lines that closely follow the natural rhythms of speech.


Genre: a class or category of texts with similar form, style, or subject matter.


Hyperbole: a figure of speech that is over-exaggerated.


Imagery: part of a poem that uses the five senses to create a mental picture.Irony: a device where what is said is very different than what is meant.


Metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.


Octave: a stanza of 8 lines.


Refrain: a repeated line within a poem, similar to the chorus of a song.


Rhyme: words that sound alike, especially words that end in the same sound.


Rhythm: the beat and movement of language (rise and fall, repetition and variation, change of pitch, mix of syllables, melody of words).


Simile: a direct comparison between two dissimilar things using “like” or “as.”


Stanza: a group of lines making up a single unit; like a paragraph in prose.


Syntax: word order and sentence structure. The way a writer writes a sentence.

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