Poetry Notes

n A type of literature that expresses ideas, feelings, or tells a story  in a specific form (usually using lines and stanzas)
nPoint of View in Poetry
nPOET--The poet is the author of the poem.
nSPEAKER--The speaker of the poem is the “narrator” of the poem.
nFORM--the appearance of the words on the page
nLINE--a group of words together on one line of the poem
nSTANZA--a group of lines arranged together

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

nKinds of Stanzas

Couplet = a two line stanza

Triplet (Tercet) = a three line stanza

Quatrain = a four line stanza

Quintet = a five line stanza

Sestet (Sextet) = a six line stanza

Septet = a seven line stanza

Octave = an eight line stanza

nRhythm--The beat created by the sounds of the words in a poem
Rhythm can be created by meter, rhyme, alliteration and refrain.
nMeter--A pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Meter occurs when the stressed and unstressed syllables of the words in a poem are arranged in a repeating pattern.
When poets write in meter, they count out the number of stressed (strong) syllables and unstressed (weak) syllables for each line.  They then repeat the pattern throughout the poem.
FOOT - unit of meter.  
nA foot can have two or three syllables.
nUsually consists of one stressed and one or more unstressed syllables.
nThe types of feet are determined by the arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables
nTYPES OF FEET (cont.)

Iambic  - unstressed, stressed 
Trochaic - stressed, unstressed
Anapestic - unstressed, unstressed, stressed
Dactylic - stressed, unstressed, unstressed

nFree Verse Poetry--Unlike metered poetry, free verse poetry does NOT have any repeating patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables.
  • Does NOT have rhyme.
  • Free verse poetry is very conversational - sounds like someone talking with you.
  • A more modern type of poetry.
nRhymeWords sound alike because they share the same ending vowel and consonant sounds.



Share the short “a” vowel sound
Share the combined “mp” consonant sound

nEnd Rhyme--A word at the end of one line rhymes with a word at the end of another line.

Hector the Collector

Collected bits of string.

Collected dolls with broken heads

And rusty bells that would not ring.

nInternal Rhyme--A word inside a line rhymes with another word on the same line.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary.

From “The Raven” 

by Edgar Allan Poe

nRhyme Scheme--A rhyme scheme is a pattern of end rhyme.

Use the letters of the alphabet to represent sounds to be able to visually “see” the pattern.

The Germ                       

by Ogden Nash


A mighty creature is the germ,                        a                    

Though smaller than the pachyderm.            a

His customary dwelling place                          b

Is deep within the human race.                        b

His childish pride he often pleases                  c

By giving people strange diseases.                   c

Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?                     a

You probably contain a germ.                          a

nOnomatopoeia--A word whose pronunciation suggests its meaning.


“The silken, sad, uncertain, rustling of each purple curtain . . .”

nAlliteration--The repetition of initial consonant sound in non rhyming words
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?
nConsonance--The repetition of consonant sound within non-rhyming words. . .

The repeated consonant sounds can be anywhere in the words

silken, sad, uncertain, rustling . . “

nAssonance--The repetition of vowel sounds in non-rhyming words.

(Often creates near/slant rhyme.)
All share the long “a” sound.

Lake Fate Base Fade 

nRefrain--A sound, word, phrase or line repeated regularly in a poem.

Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.’”

Types of Poetry

A short poem
Usually written in first person point of view
Expresses an emotion or an idea or describes a scene
Do not tell a story and are often musical
(Many of the poems we read will be lyrics.

nOde--A lyric poem of moderate length with a serious subject, an elevated style, and an elaborate stanza pattern.
nKyrielle--A French form of poetry written in quatrains.

Each quatrain contains a repeated line or phrase as a refrain.
No limit to the number of stanzas, but three is generally the minimum.
normal structure is a/a/b/B, c/c/b/B, d/d/b/B.
B being the repeated line.

nQuatrain--Poems that have only one four-line stanza with a rhyming pattern.
nLimerick--Limericks are humorous verses which are made up of  five lines.

There was an old man of Khartoum

Who kept a tame sheep in his room,

“To remind me,” he said,

“Of someone who’s dead,

But I never can recollect whom.”

Haiku--A Japanese poem written in three lines

Five Syllables
Seven Syllables
Five Syllables

An old silent pond . . .
A frog jumps into the pond.
Splash!  Silence again.
nCinquain--A five line poem containing 22 syllables

Two Syllables

Four Syllables

Six Syllables

Eight Syllables

Two Syllables

How frail

Above the bulk

Of crashing water hangs

Autumnal, evanescent, wan

The moon.

nLiterary Devices
nSimile--A comparison of two things using “like, as than,” or “resembles.”

“She is as beautiful as a sunrise.”

nMetaphor--A direct comparison of two unlike things
n“All the world’s a stage, and we are merely players.”

- William Shakespeare

nExtended Metaphor--A metaphor that goes several lines or possible the entire length of a work.
nImplied Metaphor--The comparison is hinted at but not clearly stated.

“The poison sacs of the town began to manufacture venom, and the town swelled and puffed with the pressure of it.”

- from The Pearl

- by John Steinbeck

nHyperbole-- Exaggeration often used for emphasis.
nIdiom--An expression where the literal meaning of the words is not the meaning of the expression.  It means something other than what it actually says.
 Ex.  It’s raining cats and dogs
nImagery--Using vivid, descriptive words to conjure up an image.

The car sped.

The flashy, yellow, mustang streaked like a bullet along the highway.

nPersonification--Giving non human things human qualities.

“The Skies wept.”

nPersonification (cont.)

Ninki was by this time irritated beyond belief by the general air of incompetence exhibited in the kitchen, and she went into the living room and got Shax, who is extraordinarily lazy and never catches his own chipmunks, but who is, at least, a cat, and preferable, Ninki saw clearly, to a man with a gun.