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English - Glossary - Poetry

Acrostic Puzzle poem in which the beginning, middle or last letters of each line form a word when read vertically.
Alliteration repetition of closely connected words beginning with the same letter, usually a consonant. It is used to highlight the feeling of sound and movement, to intensify meaning, or to bind words together, e.g. 'the burning bushes'.

repetition of similar or identical vowel sounds in words which follow each other, especially when the vowel is stressed.

'Eldorado, shadow, old, over, boldly, no'

"Eldorado" by Edgar Allan Poe

Ballad A simple song which tells a story through dialogue, and which is characterised by uncomplicated language and melodic refrain. the literary ballad is a narrative poem written un imitation of the folk ballad. Each verse is made up of four lines, with the second and fourth line endings rhyming.
Enjambement A line ending in which the syntax, rhythm and thought are continued and completed in the next line.
Free Verse Verse without a fixed metrical pattern, usually having un-rhymed lines of varying length.
Imagery Use of pictures, figures of speech and description to evoke ideas, feelings, objects, actions and states of mind etc.
Lyric Originally poetry meant to be sung, accompanied by lyre or lute. Now refers to category of poetry that is short, concentrated in expression, personal in its subject matter and songlike in quality.
Metaphor Like a simile, is based on a point of similarity between two things; but, whereas the simile states that one thing is like another, the metaphor identifies them completely. E.g. She has a heart of gold. (She is a kind person).
Onomatopoeia Use of words which echo meaning in sound. E.g. 'hiss' 'buzz'.
Personification Technique of presenting things which are not human as if they are.
Refrain A recurring phrase or line, especially at the end of a verse, or appearing irregularly throughout a song or poem. It is used to create unity, to accumulate plot and meaning or to maintain rhythm and melody.
Rhyme The use of words with matching sounds, usually at the end of each line.
Similes Compare things which are alike in some respect, although they may be different in their general nature. E.g. 'As light as a feather'.
Stanza Another word for verse.
Symbol When a word, phrase or image 'stands for' or evokes a complex set of ideas, the meaning of which is determined by the surrounding context. E.g. the sun can symbolise life energy, a red rose can symbolise love etc.

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