AP English Poetry Terms Flashcards

Terms Definitions
denotation
dictionary definition
couplet
two-line stanza
rhyme royal
ababbcc stanza
Symbol
something that is simultaneously itself and a sign of something else. For example, winter, darkness, and cold are real things, but in literature they are also likely to mean death.
rhythm
the varying speed, intensity, elevation, pitch, loudness, and expressiveness of speech
hyperbole
deliberate, extravagant and often outrageous exaggeration
sonnet
normally a fourteen-line iambic pentameter poem. The conventional Italian, or Petrarchan sonnet is rhymed abba, abba, cde, cde; the English, or Shakespearean, sonnet is rhymed abab, cdcd, efef, gg.
alliteration
the repetition of initial identical consonant sounds in close proximity
ex: pensive poets
image/imagery
images: references that trigger the mind to fuse together memories of sights, sounds, smells, and sensations. an image is one single mental creation while imagery is referring to several throughout a work
cacophony
harsh unpleasant compination of sounds or tones
heroic couplet
two end-stopped iambic pentameter lines rhymed aa, bb, cc with the thought usually completed with two lines
Narrative
Telling a story; examples include ballads, epics and lays are different kinds of narrative poems
quatrain
a four-line stanza with any combination of rhymes.
Simile
a directly expressed comparison; a figure of speech comparing two objects, usually with “like,” “as,” or “than.” It is easier to recognize a simile than a metaphor because the comparison is explicit: my love is like a fever; my love is deeper than a well. (The plural of “simile” is “similes” not “similies.”)
Rhyme
close similarity or identity of sound between accented syllables occupying corresponding positions in two or more lines of verse. the vowels in the accented syllables must be preceded by different consonants, such as fan and ran
verbal irony
when a character says something different than what they mean
diction
word choice, types of words, word arrangement, and the level of language
Caesura
A speech pause occurring within a line
meter
repetition of a regular rhythmic unit in a line of poetry
Metonymy
Figure of speech in which some significant aspect is used to represent the whole experience.
Foot
Two or more syllables that together make up the smallest unit of rhythm in a poem
romanticism
the principles and ideals of the Romantic movement in literature and the arts during the late 18th and early 19th centuries; was a reaction to the classicism of the early 18th century, and favored feeling over reason and placed great emphasis on the subjective, or personal, experience of the individual; nature was also a major theme; renowned poets of this style include Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats
antithesis
a figure of speech characterized by strongly contrasting words, clauses, sentences, or ideas, as in “Man proposes; God disposes.” Antithesis is a balancing of one term against another for emphasis or stylistic effectiveness. The second line of the following couplet by Alexander Pope is an example of antithesis:
 
The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, 
And wretches hang that jury-men may dine.
tone
the manner in which an author expresses his or her attitude; the intonation of the voice that expresses meaning. (Remember that the “voice” need not be that of the poet.) Tone is described by adjectives, and the possibilities are nearly endless. Often a single adjective will be enough, and tone may change from stanza to stanza or even line to line. Tone is the result of allusion, diction, figurative language, imagery, irony, symbol, syntax, and style.
Sestet
a six-line stanza. Most commonly, sestet refers to the second division of an Italian sonnet.
Octave
an eight-line stanza. Most commonly, octave refers to the first division of an Italian sonnet.
Theme
the main thought expressed by a work, in poetry the abstract concept which is made concrete through its representation in person, action, and image in the work.
How many paltry, foolish, painted things
Michael Drayton
"Sonnet 6"
figure of speech
organized patterns of comparison that deepen, broaden, extend, illuminate, and emphasize meaning- typically conforms to certain patterns like metaphor, simile, & parallelism
Connotation
What a word suggests beyond its basic definition; a word's overtones of meaning
apostrophe
figure of speech in which someone is directly addressed as though present
feminine rhyme
rhyme of two syllables one stressed and one unstressed
iamb
a metrical foot of two syllables, one short (or unstressed) and one long (or stressed); there are four of them in the line "Come live/ with me/ and be/ my love," from a poem by Christopher Marlowe (the stressed syllables are in bold); is the reverse of the trochee
euphony
a style in which combinations of words pleasant to the ear predominate. Its opposite is cacophony. The following lines from John Keats’ Endymion are euphonious: A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Imagery
the images of a literary work; the sensory details of a work; the figurative language of a work. Imagery has several definitions, but the two that are paramount are the visual auditory, or tactile images evoked by the words of a literary work or the images that figurative language evokes. When an AP question asks you to discuss imagery, you should look especially carefully at the sensory details and the metaphors and similes of a passage. Some diction is also imagery, but not all diction evokes sensory responses.
Figurative Language
writing that uses figures of speech (as opposed to literal language or that which is actual or specifically denoted) such as metaphor, irony, and simile. Figurative language uses words to mean something other than their literal meaning. “The black bat night has flown” is figurative, with the metaphor comparing night and bat. “Night is over” says the same thing without figurative language.
Paradox
a situation or action or feeling that appears to be contradictory but on inspection turns out to be true or at least to make sense. The following lines from one of John Donne’s Holy Sonnets include paradoxes: Take me to you, imprison me, for I Except you enthrall me, never shall be free, Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
Oxymoron
a form of paradox that combines a pair of contrary terms into a single expression. this combo usually serves the purpose of shocking the reader into awareness.
A belt of straw and ivy-buds
Chistopher Marlowe
"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"
dramatic monologue
type of poem in which a speaker addresses an internal listener or the reader. it reveals the "soul in action" through the speaker in a dramatic situation
Free verse
Non metrical poetry in which the basic rhythmic unit is the line, and in which pauses, live breaks, and formal patterns develop organically from the requirements of the individual poem rather than from established poetic forms
paraphrase
restatement of an idea in such a way as to retain meaning while changing diction and form
masculine rhyme
rhyme that falls on the stressed and concluding syllables of the rhyme-words.
narrative poem
a non dramatic poem that presents a story ex: epics and ballads
pastoral
a poem that depicts rural life in a peaceful, idealized way
personification
a figure of speech in which things or abstract ideas are given human attributes: dead leaves dance in the wind, blind justice
sestina
a poem of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy, originally without rhyme, in which each stanza repeats the end words of the lines of the first stanza, but in different order, the envoy using the six words again, three in the middle of the lines and three at the end.
didactic poem
a poem which is intended primarily to teach a lesson. The distinction between didactic poetry and non-didactic poetry is difficult to make and usually involves a subjective judgement of the author’s purpose on the part of the critic or the reader. Alexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism is a good example of didactic poetry.
And with her owne goodwill her fyrmely tyde
Edmund Spenser
"Sonnet 67"
To have seen thee, their sex's only glory
Michael Drayton
"Sonnet 6"
A gown made of the finest wool
Chistopher Marlowe
"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"
That hills and valleys, dales and fields
Chistopher Marlowe
"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"
If silver, her faire hands are silver sheene
Edmund Spenser
"Sonnet 15"
pentameter
a line of verse of five feet- the most common types of feet, often paired with iamb
Thy coral clasps and amber studs
Sir Walter Raleigh
"The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd"
Come live with me, and be my love
Chistopher Marlowe
"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"
In thin array after a pleasant guise
Sir Thomas Wyatt
"They Flee from Me"
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Sir Walter Raleigh
"The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd"
english/ shakespearian sonnet
grouped by 4, 4, 4, and 2 (the ending couplet)
Had joys no date nor age no need
Sir Walter Raleigh
"The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd"
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