Literary Devices of Poetry Before we talk about scansion and rhyme schemes, let’s review some basic poetry terms. <ul><li>Alliteration: the repetition of the same consonant sounds in a sequence of words, usually at the beginning of a word or stressed syllable. Example: “descending dewdrops”; “luscious lemons”. Alliteration is based on the sounds of letters, rather than the spelling. Example: “keen car”. </li></ul><ul><li>Allusion: a brief reference to a person, place, thing, event, or idea in history or literature. Allusions conjure up biblical authority, scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, historic figures, wars, great love stories, etc. Allusions imply cultural and reading ties between the writer and reader. </li></ul><ul><li>Archetype: universal symbols that evoke deep and sometimes unconscious response in a reader. In literature, characters, images, and themes that symbolically embody universal meanings and basic human experiences – regardless of when or where they live – are considered archetypes. Examples: stories of quests, initiations, scapegoats, descents to the underworld and ascents to heaven. </li></ul><ul><li>Assonance: the repetition of internal vowel sounds in nearby words that do not end the same. Assonance is a way to emphasize important words in a line. </li></ul><ul><li>Ballad: traditionally, a ballad is a song passed down orally from generation to generation that tells a story and that eventually is written down. They can’t be traced (usually) to a particular author or group of authors. Ballads are usually dramatic, condensed and impersonal narratives. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Blank verse: unrhymed poetry written with an alternating pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. It resembles the natural rhythm of spoken English. </li></ul><ul><li>Cacophony: a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds. </li></ul><ul><li>Classicism: the principles or styles characteristic of the literature and art of ancient Greece and Rome. </li></ul><ul><li>Cliché: an idea or expression that has become tired and trite from overuse, its freshness and clarity having worn off. They are usually a sign of weak writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Coherence: logical interconnection. </li></ul><ul><li>Conceit: an elaborate or fanciful metaphor, especially of a strained or far-fetched nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Couplet: two consecutive lines of poetry that usually rhyme and have the same meter. A heroic couplet is a couplet written in rhymed iambic pentameter.. </li></ul><ul><li>Diction: a writer’s choice of words, phrases, sentence structures and figurative language which combine to help create meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Dirge: a funeral song or tune, or one expressing mourning in commemoration of the dead. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Dramatic monologue: a type of lyric poem in which a character (the speaker) addresses a distinct but silent audience imagined to be present in the poem in such a way as to reveal a dramatic situation and, often unintentionally, some aspect of his/her temperament or personality. </li></ul><ul><li>Elegy: a mournful, contemplative lyric poem written to commemorate someone who is dead, often ending in a consolation. Also, a serious meditative poem produced to express the speaker’s melancholy thoughts. </li></ul><ul><li>Epic: a long, narrative poem that tells the adventures of a hero whose actions help decide the fate of a nation or of a group of people. The style of an epic poem is formal and grand. </li></ul><ul><li>Epigram: a brief, pointed and witty poem that usually makes a satiric or humorous point. Epigrams are often written in couplets, but take no prescribed form. </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative: a recounting of a series of actual or fictional events in which some connection between the events is established or implied. A narrative is anything that tells a story. Types of narratives include:epics, ballads, and narrative poems </li></ul>
Naturalism: a literary movement that arose during the late 1800s and early 1900s that emphasizes biological and socioeconomic determinism in fiction and drama. It portrays human beings as higher animals lacking free will, their lives determined by natural forces of heredity and environment and by basic drives over which they have no control and which they do not fully comprehend. Nom de plume: a fictitious name used by a writer who wishes to remain anonymous or who chooses not to use his or her real name professionally; also, a pen name. Octameter: a poetic line containing eight metrical feet. A long line that tends to break into two four-foot lines, the octameter is rare in English poetry. Octave: the first eight lines, or octet, of the Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet. Usually the octave asks a question or states a generalization that is answered or resolved in the last six lines, the sestet, of the poem. An octave is also a stanza of eight lines. Ode: a long and elaborate LYRIC poem, usually dignified or exalted in TONE and often written to praise someone or something or to mark an important occasion. Onomatopoeia: the use of words whose sound imitates the sound of the thing being named. Examples: hum, buzz, clang, boom, hiss, crack, and twitter. Oxymoron: a figure of speech in which two contradictory words or phrases are combined in a single expression, giving the effect of a condensed paradox. Examples: wise fool, living death, cruel kindness, eloquent silence, and loving hate.. Parallelism: the technique of showing that words, phrases, clauses, or larger structures are comparable in content and importance by placing them side by side and making them similar in form. Parallelism is a common unifying device in poetry, especially in ancient poetry growing out of the oral tradition.
More Devices <ul><li>Pentameter: a five-foot line of poetry. The most common pentameter line, iambic pentameter, is the basis of blank verse, the sonnet, and the heroic couplet, and is the most widely used line in English poetic verse. The following couplet, by Alexander Pope, is in iambic pentameter: </li></ul><ul><li>True ease in writ ing comes from art, not chance, </li></ul><ul><li>As those move eas iest who have learned </li></ul><ul><li>To dance. </li></ul><ul><li>Paean: a song or hymn of praise, thanksgiving, or triumph. </li></ul><ul><li>Poetry: a genre of literature in its most intense, most imaginative, and most rhythmic forms. Poetry differs from prose most basically in being written in lines of arbitrary lengths (stanzas) instead of in paragraphs. Poetry’s richness in imagery, particularly in metaphor, results in a far greater concentration of meaning than is ordinarily found in prose. </li></ul><ul><li>Pseudonym: a false name or pen name used by a writer rather than his or her real name. Example: Saki is a pseudonym for H.H. Munro. </li></ul><ul><li>Pun: a form of wit, not necessarily funny,involving a play on a word with two or more meanings. </li></ul><ul><li>Quatrain: A stanza of four lines, rhyme or unrhymed; also, a poem consisting of four lines only.The quatrain is the most common stanza form in English. </li></ul><ul><li>Refrain: a phrase, line, or group of lines repeated at intervals during a poem, usually at the end of a stanza. In a song, a refrain is often called a chorus because it allows everyone to join in. Refrains are also to reestablish an idea or a mood. </li></ul>
Requiem: a chant, dirge, or poem for the dead; from the Roman Catholic mass for the dead. Rhyme: the similarity of sound between two words ( cold/old)When the sounds of their accented syllables and all succeeding sounds are identical, words rhyme. The most common form of rhyme is rhyme at the end of lines of poetry, which is called end rhyme. The rhyming of two or more words in the same line of poetry is called internal rhyme, which most often occurs in the middle and at the end of the same line; also called middle rhyme and leonine rhyme. Rhythm: the patterned flow of sound in poetry and prose. In traditional English poetry, rhythm is based on the combination of accent and numbers of syllables, known as meter. Whether words are made up of harsh sounds or soft sounds also affects the rhythm of a line of poetry Scansion: Analyzing meter in lines of poetry by counting and marking the accented and unaccented syllables, dividing the lines into metrical feet, and showing the major pauses, if any, within the line. Simile: a figure of speech that uses like, as, or as if to compare two essentially different objects, actions, or attributes that share some aspect of similarity. In contrast to a metaphor, in which a comparison is implied, a simile expresses a comparison directly. Sonnet: a fourteen-line poem in iambic pentameter. The two most important type of sonnets are the Italian (Petrarchan) and the Shakespearean (English). The Italian sonnet is organized into two parts – an octave, consisting of the first eight lines and rhyming abbba, abba; and a sestet, the remaining six lines, which usually rhyme cde, cde. The octave establishes the Theme or poses a problem that is developed or resolved by the sestet. The rhyme scheme of the Shakespearean sonnet, abab, cdcd, efef, gg, is looser than that of the Italian sonnet, allowing for seven different rhymes instead of five. Stanza: a section or division of a poem; specifically, a grouping of lines into a recurring pattern determined by the number of lines, the meter of the lines, and the rhyme scheme.
Stanza Types Remember that a stanza is like a paragraph of poetry. <ul><li>Here are some of the terms we use to describe types of stanzas by number of lines: </li></ul><ul><li>couplet: two lines in a stanza </li></ul><ul><li>triplet: three lines in a stanza </li></ul><ul><li>quatrain: four lines in a stanza </li></ul><ul><li>quintet: five lines in a stanza </li></ul><ul><li>sestet: six lines in a stanza </li></ul><ul><li>septet: seven lines in a stanza </li></ul><ul><li>octave: eight lines in a stanza </li></ul><ul><li>Here are some other ways to describe stanza types: </li></ul><ul><li>heroic couplet: two successive rhyming verses completing a thought </li></ul><ul><li>terza rima: three-line stanza with interwoven rhyme scheme of iambic pentameter </li></ul><ul><li>limerick: five lines, rhyme scheme of A A B B A </li></ul><ul><li>ballad stanza: four lines, rhyme scheme of A B C B </li></ul><ul><li>royal rime: seven lines in iambic pentameter A B A BB CC </li></ul><ul><li>ottava rima: Italian stanza, iambic pentameter </li></ul><ul><li>A B A B A B CC </li></ul><ul><li>Spenserian stanza: nine lines, eight in iambic pentameter, one “alexandrine” a line of iambic hexameter A B A BB C B CC </li></ul><ul><li>sonnet: fourteen-line stanza form in iambic pentameter </li></ul><ul><li>Italian or Petrarchan sonnet: fourteen-line stanza with rhyme scheme of A B B A A B B A C D E C D E (CD CD CD) </li></ul><ul><li>Shakespearean sonnet: fourteen-line quatrains and a couplet with rhyme scheme A B A B C D C D E F E F GG </li></ul>
Meter and Metrical Feet Meter is the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in a line of poetry. The stressed syllable is accented and the unstressed syllable is unaccented. An easy way to find the stressed syllable is to hold your chin. When you feel your chin move and and become tighter, then that syllable of the word is stressed. You mark a stressed syllable with “ /” over it; you mark an unstressed syllable with an u over it. Basic types of Metrical Feet: <ul><li>iamb: unstressed stressed </li></ul><ul><li>trochee: stressed unstressed </li></ul><ul><li>anapest: unstressed unstressed stressed </li></ul><ul><li>dactyl: stressed unstressed unstressed </li></ul><ul><li>spondee: stressed stressed </li></ul><ul><li>pyrrhic: unstressed unstressed ** (this is very rare) </li></ul>
Examples of Meter It is hard to find poems in iambic monometer. "Upon His Departure Hence" * / Thus I Pass by And die, As one Unknown, And gone; I'm made A shade, And laid I'th grave, There have My cave. Where tell I dwell, Farewell . - Robert Herrick Note: I’ve marked each unstressed syllable with an asterisk ( * ) John Keats's "The Eve of St. Agnes" is in iambic pentameter: * / * / * / * / * / A casement high and triple-arch'd there was, * / * / * / * / * / All garlanded with carven imag'ries William Blake's poem below is an example of trochaic dimeter with an instance of catalexis, which is what occurs in most trochaic lines where the last unstressed syllable is cut off. Here it would be diagrammed as: / * / (*). / * / (*) Little boy, / * / (*) Full of joy; / * / (*) Little girl, / * / (*) Sweet and small;
Examples of Meter Lord Byron's "The Destruction of Sennacherib” is an example of anapestic tetrameter * * / * * / * * / * * / For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, * * / * * / * * / * * / And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed; Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" contains dactylic dimeter with catalexis / * * / * * Cannon to right of them, / * * / * * Cannon to left of them, / * * / * * Cannon in front of them / * * / * (*) Volleyed and thundered Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “We Real Cool” is an example of spondee / / / / We real cool. We / / / left school. We / / Lurk late... The Pyrrhic For the pyrrhic, the pattern is / U U /--as in the "to the" in the following phrase: Today we went to the mountains-- * / * / * * / to DAY / we WENT / to the / / * MOUN tains / IMPORTANT NOTE: Spondees and pyrrhics are used exclusively as substitutes for iambics and trochees within individual lines; it is impossible to have a meter that is purely composed of spondees or pyrrhic