Poetic Devices

denotation

the dictionary meaning of the word

connotation

the implied or suggested meaning of the word

literal meaning

the simplest, most obvious meaning (on the line)

figurative meaning

the non-literal or metaphoric meaning (between the lines or beyond)

meter

pattern of stressed and unstressed words in a line of verse

rhyme

similarity of end sounds of verses

stress

an emphasis that falls on certain syllables

iambic pentameter

five sets of stressed and unstressed syllable pairs in a line

apostrophe

a direct address of an inanimate object, abstract quality, or a person not living or present

hyperbole

exaggeration for emphasis

metaphor

comparison between essentially unlike things without using like or as

oxymoron

a combination of two words that appear to contradict each other

paradox

a situation or phrase that appears to be contradictory but which contains a truth worth considering

personification

the endowment of inanimate objects or abstract concepts with animate or living qualities

pun

play on words or a humorous use of a single word with two or more implied meanings

simlie

comparison between two essentially unlike things using like or as

verbal irony

a contradiction of expectation between what is said and what is meant

situational irony

a contradiction between what is expected in a particular circumstance and what occurs

dramatic irony

a contradiction between what a character says in ignorance of a situation and what the audience or other characters know to be true

imagery

word or sequence of words representing a sensory experience (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory)

synesthesia

an attempt to fuse different senses by describing one in terms of another

symbol

an object or action that stands for something beyond itself

alliteration

the repetition of consonant sounds, particular at the beginning of words

assonance

the repetition of similar vowel sounds

onomatopoeia

the use of words to imitate the sounds they describe

allusion

a reference to the person, event, or work outside the poem

refrain

repetition of a key word or phrase several times throughout the poem

repetition

a few lines repeated at certain intervals

parallelism

the use of similar phrases or grammatical structures

rhyme scheme

the pattern of rhymes in a poem (each new rhyme given a letter of the alphabet)

slant rhyme

the half rhyme between words with similar but not identical

internal rhyme

rhyming words within the same line of poetry

stanza

a paragraph in poetry, surrounded above and below by skipped lines

free verse

no predictable rhythm or rhyme

couplet

two rhyming lines in a row, usually stating an important thematic idea

quatrain

four lines within a stanza

sonnet

14-line poem in iambic pentameter with a prescribed rhyme scheme (subject is usually love); rhyme scheme of Shakespearean sonnet is abab cdcd efef gg