Poetic Devices and Poems

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By: William Meyer


Poetic Devices Glossary

Poetic Devices Glossary
Irony: a difficult term to define can refer to a manner of expression or a quality in the thing perceived. In both cases, irony involves the perception of discrepancy, usually between apparent and real significance. It is an indirect way of communicating an attitude. Irony can vary in tone, from humorous to bitter. Example- Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “Water, water, every where, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink.”

Diction: choice of words. A writing style may vary according to the level of diction: formal or informal. Other terms to distinguish diction are monosyllabic or polysyllabic, concrete or abstract, specific or general. Words that derive from Anglo-Saxon (Old English) tend to be monosyllabic, simple, and familiar; words that are Latinate in origin are often polysyllabic, formal, general and abstract, and they produce a different effect. Jargon is a derogatory term for the needless use of technical terms. Example- Wherever You Are, Be Somewhere Else by Denise Riley: “In a look until dropped like an egg on the floor let slop, crashed to slide and run, yolk yellow for the live, the dead who worked through me.”

Hyperbole: a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect. Example- A Boy and a Man by James Ramsey Ullman: “It was not a mere man he was holding, but a giant; or a block of granite. The pull was unendurable. The pain was unendurable.”

Antithesis: the use of similar grammatical constructions to express contrasting ideas. It is similar to parallelism, but antithesis refers only to the use of parallel phrasing to express contrasts. Example- The Hind and the Panther, Part I by John Dryden: If, as our dreaming Platonists report, There could be spirits of a middle sort, Too black for heav'n, and yet too white for hell, Who just dropp'd halfway down, nor lower fell;

Internal rhyme: rhyme within a line in a poem. Example- A Simple Rhyme by Percy Bysshe Shelley: “I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers.”

Rhyme scheme: the order in which rhymed words recur. In a stanza of four lines, the possible rhyme schemes include abab, abcb, aabb and abba. Example- Alone by Edgar Allen Poe

From childhood’s hour I have not been a
As others were; I have not seen a As others saw; I could not bring b My passions from a common spring. b
Onomatopoeia: the use of sound to suggest the qualities of the thing described. Poets use meter, vowel sounds, and consonant sounds to suggest sound, time, movement, effort, texture or tone. Example- The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes “And he rode with a jeweled twinkle, His pistol butts a-twinkle, His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.” Paradox: a statement that at first seems self-contradictory but that on reflection makes sense. Ghost House by Robert Frost: “I dwell in a lonely house I know That vanished many a summer ago.” Symbolism: a thing that suggests more than its literal meaning. A symbol can be a thing or an action. Symbolism is the collective function of symbols in a work, or an author’s use of symbols. Example- The Road not Taken by Robert Frost. Cacophony: deliberate use of harsh, dissonant sounds. Example- Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll: “'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.”

Six Original Poems

Things Mr. Tyrell Hates

Mr. Tyrell doesn’t hate much
But he certainly hates what he hates

UW Husky purple will have to go
Take the Sci-Fi movies with you

Can’t STAND candycorn
Or clichés for that matter

In one ear and out the other
Listening is important don’t not do it!

Lookin’ scrubbish is they’re on the list...
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