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Elements of Poetry
What is a poem? a composition in verse, especially one that is characterized by a highly developed artistic form and by the use of heightened language and rhythm to express an intensely imaginative interpretation of the subject.
Terms Found Most Often in Poetry:
Alliteration Assonance: The repetition of the same vowel sound in several words in the same line of poetry or sentence as in “The lazy babies wailed for cake”. Consonance: The use of the same consonant sound in the middle of several words in a line of poetry as in the l’s in “slowly and silently the mellow willows dangled their branch-like arms.”
Blank Verse: Poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter
Blank Verse: Poetry written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. “Blank” means the poetry is not rhymed. “Iambic Pentameter” means that each line consist of five iambs, or metrical feet, consisting of an unstressed syllable (v) followed by a stressed syllable (’).
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells ˘ / To swell the gourd,
An iambic foot is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. We could write the rhythm like this: da DUM A line of iambic pentameter is five iambic feet in a row: da DUM We can notate this with a '˘' mark representing an unstressed syllable and a '/' mark representing a stressed syllable. In this notation a line of iambic pentameter would look like this: ˘ / The following line from John Keats' ode To Autumn is a straightforward example: To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells We can notate the scansion of this as follows: ˘ / To swell the gourd, and plump ha- zel shells
Couplet: Two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme.
“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
Run-on line: A line of poetry that has no punctuation at the end.
End-stopped line: A line of poetry that has punctuation at the end (.,;:) Run-on line: A line of poetry that has no punctuation at the end. Rhyme Scheme: The repetition of accented vowel sounds and all the sounds following them in words that are close together in a poem. Rhymes that occur at the ends of lines are called end rhyme. Rhyme occurring within lines of poetry is called internal rhyme. The rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhymes formed by the end rhyme in a poem.
Refrain: a repeated word, phrase, like, or group of lines.
Meter: A generally regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry. Rhythm: The pattern created by arranged stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry. Rhythm gives poetry a musical sound. Slant Rhymes: Words that do not rhyme exactly but repeat some sounds such as “hollow” and “mellow” or “look” and “back”.
Exact Rhymes: Words that rhyme exactly. (cat and hat)
Sonnet: A fourteen line poem. Stanza: A group of lines forming a unit in a poem. Quatrain: A four line stanza in a poem.
Example of a poem: Dreams by Langston Hughes Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.
How to read a poem… Read through it once circling and making note of anything interesting. Read through it again looking for any imagery that is used. Look for any symbolism and decide what it stands for. Look at the poem as a whole – what is the author trying to say? Langston Hughes
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