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Elements of Poetry

A brief description of some of the tools used to create meaningful, expressive poetry.
by

Hui Neng Amos

on 5 January 2014

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Transcript of Elements of Poetry

Literary Devices
Allegory
Alliteration
Assonance
Connotation
Denotation
Diction
Imagery
Irony
Metaphor
Meter
Rhyme
Simile
Symbol
Tone
Soliloquy
Sonnet
Allegory

a work in which the characters and events are to be understood as representing other things and symbolically expressing a deeper, often spiritual, moral, or political meaning

the symbolic expression of a deeper meaning through a story or scene acted out by human, animal, or mythical characters
An allegory is a whole world of symbols. Within a narrative form, which can be either in prose or verse, an allegory tells a story that can be read symbolically.

Interpreting an allegory is complicated because you need to be aware of what each symbol in the narrative refers to. Allegories thus reinforce symbolic meaning, but can also be appreciated as good stories regardless of their allegorical meaning.

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/poetry/allegory_ex.html
Alliteration

a poetic or literary effect achieved by using several words that begin with the same or similar consonants, as in "Whither wilt thou wander, wayfarer?"
Allegory
Alliteration
Alliteration occurs when the initial sounds of a word, beginning either with a consonant or a vowel, are repeated in close succession.

Examples:
Athena and Apollo
Nate never knows
People who pen poetry

Note that the words only have to be close to one another: Alliteration that repeats and attempts to connect a number of words is little more than a tongue-twister.

The function of alliteration, like rhyme, might be to accentuate the beauty of language in a given context, or to unite words or concepts through a kind of repetition. Alliteration, like rhyme, can follow specific patterns. Sometimes the consonants aren't always the initial ones, but they are generally the stressed syllables. Alliteration is less common than rhyme, but because it is less common, it can call our attention to a word or line in a poem that might not have the same emphasis otherwise.

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/poetry/alliteration_def.html
Assonance
Assonance

the similarity of two or more vowel sounds or the repetition of two or more consonant sounds, especially in words that are close together in a poem.
If alliteration occurs at the beginning of a word and rhyme at the end, assonance takes the middle territory.

Assonance occurs when the vowel sound within a word matches the same sound in a nearby word, but the surrounding consonant sounds are different. "Tune" and "June" are rhymes; "tune" and "food" are assonant.

The function of assonance is frequently the same as end rhyme or alliteration: All serve to give a sense of continuity or fluidity to the verse. Assonance might be especially effective when rhyme is absent: It gives the poet more flexibility, and it is not typically used as part of a predetermined pattern. Like alliteration, it does not so much determine the structure or form of a poem; rather, it is more ornamental.

http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/poetry/assonance_def.html
Connotation and
Denotation
Connotation

an additional sense or senses associated with or suggested by a word or phrase. Connotations are sometimes, but not always, fixed, and are often subjective

the implying or suggesting of an additional meaning for a word or phrase apart from the literal or main meaning
Denotation is when you mean what you say, literally.

Connotation is created when you mean something else, something that might be initially hidden. The connotative meaning of a word is based on implication, or shared emotional association with a word.

Greasy is a completely innocent word: Some things, like car engines, need to be greasy. But greasy contains negative associations for most people, whether they are talking about food or about people.

Often there are many words that denote approximately the same thing, but their connotations are very different.

Innocent and genuine both denote an absence of corruption, but the connotations of the two words are different: innocent is often associated with a lack of experience, whereas genuine is not.

Connotations are important in poetry because poets use them to further develop or complicate a poem's meaning.
Diction
choice of words to fit their context

I might, for example, say that the sunset
had a warm red glow. This would have
a pleasant connotation.

On the other hand, blood-red skies carry
a very different (and somewhat ominous)
set of connotations.

Control of diction is what distinguishes
great writers from the rest; they make the
reader feel what they intend them to feel,
by choosing the right word.
Irony
humor based on using words to suggest the opposite of their literal meaning


incongruity between what actually happens and what might be expected to
happen, especially when this disparity seems absurd or laughable
meter

a preset number of beats or syllables in a line of poetry

an arranged pattern of rhythm in a line of verse
metaphor
one thing used or considered to represent another

* an implicit comparison: the use to describe somebody or something of a word or phrase that is not meant literally but by means of a vivid comparison expresses something about him, her, or it, e.g. saying that somebody is a snake

* figurative language: all language that involves figures of speech or symbolism and does not literally represent real things
meter
Rhyme
a similarity in the sound of word endings, especially in poetry

a word with an ending that sounds similar to the ending of another word

example: rhyme:time phone:moan
Simile
a figure of speech that draws a comparison between two different things, especially a phrase containing the word "like" or "as," e.g. "as white as a sheet"
Symbol
something that stands for or represents something else, especially an object representing an abstraction

a written or printed sign or character
that represents something in a specific context, e.g. an operation or quantity in mathematics or music

Tone
The author’s attitude
towards the subject
Soliloquy
the act of speaking while alone (solo), especially when used as a theatrical device that allows a character's thoughts and ideas to be conveyed to the audience

soliloquy is different than a monologue in that it is an internal dialogue (saying aloud what's in your head), rather than a speech to the audience
Sonnet
a short poem with 14 lines,
usually ten-syllable rhyming
lines, divided into two, three,
or four sections.
There are many rhyming patterns
for sonnets, and they are usually
written in iambic pentameter.
William Shakespeare


Macbeth’s Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow soliloquy.
Spoken by Macbeth, Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5

There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.


SONNET 18
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare

Macbeth’s Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow soliloquy.
Spoken by Macbeth, Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5

There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

William Shakespeare

SONNET 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Imagery
the figurative language, especially metaphors and similes, used in poetry, plays, and other literary works

Imagery utilizes the five senses: sight, sound taste, touch and smell.
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