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Poetry Techniques and Figures of Speech

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by

Annemarie Bean

on 8 March 2011

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Transcript of Poetry Techniques and Figures of Speech

Alliteration The repetition of initial stressed, consonant sounds in a series of words within a phrase or verse line. Assonance The repetition of vowel sounds without repeating consonants; sometimes called vowel rhyme. We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks

The Pool Players.
Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon. Consonance A resemblance in sound between two words, or an initial rhyme (see also Alliteration). Yellow Dress

by Amy Beeder

Port-au-Prince

Girl on a heap of street sweepings high
as a pyre, laid on snarled wire & dented rim.
Girl set down among the wrung-out hides. Dissonance A disruption of harmonic sounds or rhythms. Dissonance is usually intentional, however, and depends more on the organization of sound for a jarring effect, rather than on the unpleasantness of individual words. Susie Asado
by Gertrude Stein

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet tea.
Susie Asado.
Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet tea.
Susie Asado.
Susie Asado which is a told tray sure.
A lean on the shoe this means slips slips hers.
When the ancient light grey is clean it is yellow, it is a silver seller.
This is a please this is a please there are the saids to jelly. These are the wets these say the sets to leave a crown to Incy.
Incy is short for incubus.
A pot. A pot is a beginning of a rare bit of trees. Trees tremble, the old vats are in bobbles, bobbles which shade and shove and render clean, render clean must.
Drink pups.
Drink pups drink pups lease a sash hold, see it shine and a bobolink has pins. It shows a nail.
What is a nail. A nail is unison.
Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet tea. Enjambment The running-over of a sentence or phrase from one poetic line to the next, without terminal punctuation; the opposite of end-stopped. The Red Wheelbarrow
by William Carlos Williams

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens Hyperbole A figure of speech composed of a striking exaggeration. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out
by Shel Silverstein

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out!
She’d scour the pots and scrape the pans,
Candy the yams and spice the hams,
And though her daddy would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceilings:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas, rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese. Irony Synonyms: paradox, incongruity. As a literary device, irony implies a distance between what is said and what is meant. Based on the context, the reader is able to see the implied meaning in spite of the contradiction. Irony
by Louis Untermeyer

Why are the things that have no death
The ones with neither sight nor breath!
Eternity is thrust upon
A bit of earth, a senseless stone.
A grain of dust, a casual clod
Receives the greatest gift of God.
A pebble in the roadway lies—
It never dies.

The grass our fathers cut away
Is growing on their graves today;
The tiniest brooks that scarcely flow
Eternally will come and go.
There is no kind of death to kill
The sands that lie so meek and still. . . .
But Man is great and strong and wise—
And so he dies. Metaphor Synonyms: image, trope, analogy, comparison, symbol. A Poem on the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
by Nikki Giovanni

Trees are never felled . . . in summer . . . Not when the fruit . . .
is yet to be borne . . . Never before the promise . . . is fulfilled . . .
Not when their cooling shade . . . has yet to comfort . . .

Yet there are those . . . unheeding of nature . . . indifferent to
ecology . . . ignorant of need . . . who . . . with ax and sharpened
saw . . . would . . . in boots . . . step forth damaging . . .

Not the tree . . . for it falls . . . But those who would . . . in
summer’s heat . . . or winter’s cold . . . contemplate . . . the
beauty . . .
Metonymy A figure of speech in which a related term is substituted for the word itself. This Gentle Surgery
by Malachi Black

Once more the bright blade of a morning breeze
glides almost too easily through me,

and from the scuffle I’ve been sutured to
some flap of me is freed: I am severed

like a simile: an honest tenor
trembling toward the vehicle I mean

to be: a blackbird licking half notes
from the muscled, sap-damp branches

of the sugar maple tree . . . though I am still
a part of any part of every particle

of me, though I’ll be softly reconstructed
by the white gloves of metonymy,

I grieve: there is no feeling in a cut
that doesn’t heal a bit too much. Onomatopoeia A figure of speech in which the sound of a word imitates its sense (for example, “choo-choo,” “hiss,” or “buzz”). Simile A comparison made with “as,” “like,” or “than.” Harlem
by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode? Synecdoche A figure of speech in which a part of something stands for the whole. poetry
figures of speech and techniques http://bit.ly/RFrostAcquainted http://www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/audioitem.html?id=2264 http://bit.ly/ABeederYellowDress http://bit.ly/WCWRedWheelbarrow http://bit.ly/SSilversteinSarah http://bit.ly/HughesDreams The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by T.S. Eliot

[...]
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
[...] Acquainted with the Night
by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
I have been one acquainted with the night. allusion Synonym-like phrases: reference to, mention of, suggestion of, hint to. A brief, intentional reference to a historical, mythic, or literary person, place, event, or movement. I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain behind me
Shall I at least set my lands in order?
London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down
Poi s’ascose nel foco che gli affina
Quando fiam uti chelidon—O swallow swallow
Le Prince d’Aquitaine à la tour abolie
These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo’s mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Shantih shantih shantih Excerpt from The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot http://town.hall.org/Archives/radio/IMS/HarperAudio/011894_harp_ITH.html http://eliotswasteland.tripod.com/ http://media.sas.upenn.edu/pennsound/authors/Stein/Stein-Gertrude_Interview_1934.mp3
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