Mary Oliver A Poetry Handbook vocab

Alexandrine
A pure iambic, six-foot line

Alliteration
The repetition of the initial sound of words in a line or lines of verse

Allusion
A reference to something that belongs properly to a world beyond the specific sphere of the poem

Anapest
Two light stresses followed by a heavy stress

Assonance
The repetition of vowel sounds within words in a line or lines of verse; creates a near-rhyme

Blank Verse
Poems written in iambic pentameter without end rhyme

Caesura
A structural and logical pause within and only within the line

Conceit
A comparison that is particularly unusual or fanciful

Connotation
The atmosphere of a word

Consonance
The repetition of both initial sounds and interior sounds of words

Consonants
All letters other than vowels; divided into semivowels and mutes

Couplet
Line 1 rhymes with line 2, line 3 rhymes with line 4
aa bb cc dd etc.

Dactyl
A heavy stress followed by two light stresses

Diction
Word choice

English / Shakespearean Sonnet
Three quatrains and a couplet
abab cdcd efef gg

Enjabment
Turns the line so that a logical phrase is interrupted

Epic Poem
Requires a dignified theme, organic unity, and an orderly progress of the action, with a heroic figure or figures

Extended Metaphor
A comparison of two things is repeated and extended throughout a poem with repeated instances of imagery

Feminine Rhyme
Uses words of more than one syllable that end with a light stress;
“buckle” and “knuckle”

Figurative Language
Another term for imagery; in the poem there is a figure that is a concrete, nonliteral, informing representation of something; a familiar thing is linked to an unknown thing

Free Verse
Rose out of a desire for release from the restraints of meter, the measured line, and strict rhyming patterns; free from formal metrical design; language that is composed, considered, appropriate, and effective

Hexameter
A six-foot line

Iamb
A light stress followed by a heavy stress

Iambic Pentameter
Five iambic feet strung together

Imagery
The representation of one thing by another thing

Italian Sonnet
The first eight lines (octave) set out a statement or premise; the following six lines (sestet) respond
abba abba cdd cee

Line
Each line of the poem can be divided into feet and each foot into stresses (in metrical verse)

Lyric Poem
Brief, concentrated, has usually no more than a single subject and focus and no more than a single voice, and is more likely to employ a simple and natural rather than an intricate or composed musicality

Masculine Rhyme
Words rhyme on a single stressed syllable; “spears” and “tears”

Metaphor
An implicit rather than explicit comparison; does not use the words “like” or “as” in its construction; two things compared often seem very different

Meter
A regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry

Mute Consonants
A consonant that cannot be sounded at all without a vowel, and which at the end of a syllable suddenly stops the breath; “k” “p” “t”

Narrative Poem
Generally longer that the lyric poem, and its tone is without such a tightly coiled force; it sets an easy and readable pace and helps us to enjoy sequential events

Negative Capability
The poet should be a kind of negative force — that only by remaining himself negative, or in some way empty, is the poet able to fill himself with an understanding of, or sympathy for, or empathy with, the subject of his poem; KEATS

Off Rhyme / Slant Rhyme
Words are not true rhyming words but almost rhyme; frequently used by Dickinson; “down” and “noon”

Onomatopoeia
The use of a word that, through its sound as well as its sense, represents what it defines; natural sounds such as “buzz” “moo” “chirp” “rumble”

Pentameter
A five-foot line

Persona
The voice, or speaker of the poem

Personification
When one gives a physical characteristic or innate quality of animation to something that is inanimate, or to an abstraction

Poetic Diction
Language in which all freshness is gone, from which credibility has long vanished, in which “the edge is off”; allows fro creativity

Prose Poems
A fairly short block of type — a paragraph or two, rarely more than a page; often is is pure description

Quatrain
abab cdcd etc

Repetition
The reappearance of a sound, a word, a phrase, a stanza, or other structure in any literary work.

Rhyme
The similarity of sound at the end of two or more lines

Rhythm
A musical quality produced by the repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables (meter) or by the repetition of words and phrases or even whole lines or sentence

Scansion
A process of dividing a line into its metrical feet and each foot into its individual parts

Self-enclosed Line
An entire sentence or a phrase that is complete in terms of grammar and logic, though it is only part of a sentence

Semivowels
A consonant that can be imperfectly sounded without a vowel so that at the end of syllable its sound may be protracted “l” “n” “z”

Similie
Comparison using “like” or “as” in its construction

Sonnet
A poem of fourteen lines; traditionally it uses the iambic pentameter line

Spenserian Stanza
abab bcbc c

Spondee
Two equal stresses

Stanza
A group of lines in a poem that is separated by an extra amount of space from other groups of lines

Style
An evaluation of the sum of the choices an author makes in blending diction, syntax, figurative language, and other literary devices

Syllablic Verse
A pattern is set up, and rigorously followed, in which the number of syllables in each of the lines of the first stanza is exactly repeated in the following stanzas

Syntax
Arrangement of words and phrases to create well formed sentences

Tag
An extra light stress within a final foot and is not counted as part of the metrical pattern

Tercet / Triplet
aaa bbb ccc ddd etc

Terza Rima
aba bcb cdc ded etc

Tetrameter
A four-foot line

Texture
Makes the poem an experience, something much more than mere statement; plentitude and layering of details

Tone
The overall effect of the diction of a piece of writing, in addition to other elements, such as choice of subject, imagery, design of poem etc

Trimeter
A three-foot line

Trochee
A heavy stress followed by a light stress

True Rhyme
Ex: “spears” “tears” “pot” “hot”

Voice
Used to identify the agency or agent who is speaking through the poem, apart form those passages that are actual dialogue

Vowels
Forms a perfect sound when uttered alone. “a” “e” “i” “o” “u” and sometimes “w” and “y”

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