Poetry Terms

Poetry Terms

When writing poetry, there are many terms that you need to know. Some of these are more common, while others are rarely used in ordinary speech. This is a list of some poetry terms and their definitions.

Alliteration is when a writer uses the same letter to start new lines over and over.

Assonance is when two different words next to each other have the same vowel sound but a different consonant sound.

A ballad is a poem written to be sung along with music.

A couplet is when two consecutive lines rhyme and form a complete thought.

Imagery is the name given to elements of a poem that spark an image in your mind.

Lyric Poetry is a short poem which expresses the writer's feelings.

A metaphor is a direct comparison between two things, without using “like” or “as”.

A meter is how the poem is divided up in lines or verses, as to rhyme. A scansion is how the poem is divided into feet by how long syllables are.

Onomatopoeia is naming a thing or action by what sound it makes or what properties it has.

Parallelism is the repetition of grammatical elements, such as nouns and verbs.

Personification is giving human-like qualities to things or creatures, such as “the dog smiled”.

Refrain is a verse, line, or group of lines that repeat every time the poem divides into different sections.

Rhyme is when identical syllables sound the same or very similar in different contexts.

A rhyme scheme is a pattern of sounds that repeats at the end of a line or stanza.

An end rhyme is where you find a rhyme at the end of two or more lines.

Internal rhyme is a rhyme that happens in the middle of lines instead of at the ends.

Rhythm is the pace of poetry, or which syllables are emphasized, kind of like bolding text.

A simile is another comparison which uses “like” or “as”.

A sonnet is a type of poetry that has 14 lines.

A speaker is the person reading the poem, usually out loud.

A stanza is a group of lines.

A symbol is an object that represents an idea.

Hyperbole is a figure of speech which exaggerates an idea to emphasize it.

A cliché is a saying that has been repeated so many times, it has become common.

A figure of speech is a word or phase that has a separate meaning than what it literally means.

A pun is a figure of speech that uses similar-sounding words to convey a meaning, often used as a joke.

The tone of a poem is the attitude of the poet towards the part you are reading (or to the whole poem).

Free Verse is a form of poetry that doesn't follow any set rules.

Diction refers to the choice of words that a writer uses to convey an idea.

Figurative language is a way of expressing yourself without using that word's exact meaning.

An idiom is an expression that presents a non-literal meaning to a word.

Irony is the contrast between how things seem and what they are.

Connotation is something suggested by a word or thing, or an implication.