Poetry important terms

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Poetry and Visuals

Identity Unit


Due Date:
Poetry – a term applied to the many forms in which human beings have given rhythmic expression to their most imaginative and intense perceptions
The following list of definitions will be useful in our discussions of poetry this year:
Cacophony – a harsh, disagreeable sound
Euphony – the opposite of cacophony, pleasantness or smoothness of a sound; assonance; assimilation of the sounds of syllables to facilitate pronunciation and to please the ear
Figurative Language – intentional departure from normal order, construction, or meaning of words in order to gain strength and freshness of expression, to create a pictorial effect, to describe by analogy, or to discover and illustrate similarities in otherwise dissimilar things.

  1. Antithesis – characterized by strongly contrasting words; balancing of one term against another

  2. Allusion – a passing or indirect reference; in literature, an author will often make an allusion to a famous book such as the Bible, or a famous work of art

  3. Apostrophe – someone (usually absent), or some abstract quality, or a nonexistent being is directly addressed as though present (Lady Luck, smile on me.)

  4. Hyperbole – conscious exaggeration, to heighten effect, or produce comic effect (This dog, with teeth the size of axe blades, started chewing at the seat of my pants.)

  5. Irony – the recognition of a reality different from appearance

  6. Metaphor – a direct comparison of two unlike things i.e. the moon was a ghostly galleon.

  7. Simile – a comparison of two unlike things using “like” or “as” i.e. the water curled like snakes.

  8. Oxymoron (Gk. Oxus, sharp and moros, dull) – a figure of speech in which two words or phrases of opposite meaning are set together for emphasis or effect, i.e. falsely true

  9. Personification – giving inanimate objects human characteristics i.e. the leaves danced in the gentle wind.

  10. Metonymy – the substitution of a term naming an object closely associated with the word in mind for the word itself (i.e. the skirt, the badge)

Imagery – using words which appeal to one of the five senses i.e. The path through the forest was a lush green velvet color.
Lyrics – words of a song
Onomatopoeia – the use of words that by their sound suggest their meaning i.e. meow, crunch
Poetic License – the poet’s privilege of departing from normal order
Repetition – repeating a word or phrase for emphasis

Alliteration – the use of words beginning with the same consonants or any vowel sounds in successive or closely associated syllables, especially stressed syllables i.e. “In a summer season, where soft was sun…” OR “Apt alliteration’s artful aid is often an occasional ornament in prose.”

Assonance – similar vowel sounds in stressed syllables that end with different consonant sounds i.e. “Lake” and “fake” demonstrate rhyme. “Lake” and “fate” show assonance.


Consonance – the use at the end of verses of words in which the final consonants in the stressed syllables agree but the vowels that precede them differ i.e. “add-read,” “bill-ball,” “born-burn”

Chorus – a refrain repeated after each stanza in a poem or song

Melodysound devices, the main one being rhyme (assonance, onomatopoeia, alliteration)

Meter – board note/explanation to follow

Parallelism – the repeated use of a grammatical pattern in a line or lines of a poem

Quatrain - four lines, usually having one of these rhyme schemes – abab, abba, abcb

Refrain – a group of words forming a phrase or sentence and consisting of one or more lines repeated at intervals in a poem, usually at the end of a stanza

Repetend – a poetic device marked by a repetition or partial repetition of a word or phrase frequently throughout a stanza or poem. Repetend differs from refrain in that the refrain usually appears at predetermined places within the poem, whereas the repetend offers an element of surprise by appearing irregularly.

Rhythm – accents of syllables in the words fall at regular intervals, like the beat of music

Rhyme scheme – the pattern of rhyme in the poem (abab cdcd efef gg)

Rhyming Couplet – two lines with identical rhymes

Stanza – a group of lines of poetry having definite pattern; a division of a poem, separated by white space

Iambic pentameter – a ten syllable line in which for every two syllables, the first is short or unaccented while the second is long or accented; used by Shakespeare

We will cover SOME of these types of poetry this term.

Ballad: a type of lyric poem that is usually sung or recited.
Important Characteristics: (1-3 are the most important!)

  1. it tells a story

  2. often written in quatrains (4 line stanzas)

  3. subject is romance, tragedy, or the supernatural

  4. there is usually rhyme (such as abab)

  5. about common people (not royalty)

  6. can be sung (rhythmic)

  7. dialogue and dialect often present

  8. passed down in oral tradition – anonymous author

  9. figurative language is often present

  10. circular (end goes back to beginning)

  11. a chorus or refrain is not uncommon

  12. jumps right into the story with little background information

Blank Verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter that is commonly used for long poems, whether they are dramatic, philosophic, or narrative.
NOTE— Iambic Pentameter: a ten syllable line in which for every two syllables, the first is short or unaccented while the second is long or accented (used by Shakespeare).
Elegy: a formal poem that is about a poet’s thoughts on death, or another solemn theme. It is often about the death of a particular person, but it may be a general observation or the expression of a solemn mood.
Epic: a long narrative poem that tells a story about characters of high position in adventures. It forms a whole through their relation to a central heroic figure, and through their development of episodes important to the history of a nation or race.
Free Verse: based on irregular rhythmic cadence (sound patterns) instead of using meter. It may or may not have rhyme. If it does, it is used with great freedom.
Lyric Poetry: a brief, subjective poem strongly marked by imagination, melody, and emotion, creating a unified impression. The original lyric poems were sung while the performer played the lyre.

Types of lyric poems:

  1. hymns

  2. sonnets

  3. songs

  4. ballads

  5. odes

  6. elegies

  7. several French forms (ballade, rondel, rondeau)

Monologue: a speech, either written or oral, that presents only one speaker. It represents what someone would speak aloud in a situation with listeners, although they are alone.
Narrative Poetry: a poem that tells a story or presents a narrative (can be simple or complex, long or short)

Types: 1. Epics

2. Ballads

3. Metrical Romances

Ode: an elaborated lyric, expressed in dignified, sincere, and imaginative language with an intellectual tone. It has a single purpose and one theme.
Sonnet: 14-line poems written in a special meter called iambic pentameter. There are two major types, which are easily distinguishable by their rhyme schemes.

  1. Italian Sonnet – has an octave (8 lines) and a sestet (6 lines)

Rhyme Scheme: abbaabba cdccdc OR abbaabba cdecde
The octave presents a brief narrative, makes a proposition, or raises a problem.
The sestet drives home the brief narrative, applies the proposition, or solves the problem.

  1. Shakespearean Sonnet – has three quatrains and a concluding couplet

Rhyme Scheme: abab cdcd efef gg
The couplet provides a comment on the previous twelve lines.
Villanelle: a fixed nineteen-line form, originally French, employing only two rhymes and repeating two of the lines according to a set pattern. Line1 is repeated as lines 6, 12, and 18; line 3 is repeated as lines 9, 15, and 19. The first and third lines return as a rhymed couplet at the end. The scheme of rhymes is aba aba aba aba abaa. Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” is one of the most famous villanelles.
Visual Terms _
Angle - space between diverging lines; part that sticks out; position from which something may be viewed
Asymmetry - lacking equality, balance, or harmony; not regularly arranged on opposite sides of a line or around a central point
Background - the part of a picture or pattern that appears to be in the distance or behind the most important part
Balance - The way shapes are arranged. When shapes are balanced, they create a feeling of order or harmony. When shapes are not balanced, they create tension.

Composition - The arrangement of visual elements within a picture (layout of the elements)
Contrast - an effect created by placing or arranging very different things such as colors, shades, or textures next to each other
Color - The appearance of objects (or light sources) described in terms of a person's perception of their hue/tint. It is used to represent the ways things really look and also to create feeling
Dominant Image - more important, effective, or prominent than others
Emphasis - Drawing attention to something by use of color, size or placement
Focal Point - Part of a visual that is the main area of interest
Focus (in or out) - the quality that makes an image sharply defined with clear edges and contrast
Font - style and size of type
Foreground - the part of a picture or scene that appears nearest the viewer
Frame - a structure that surrounds or encloses a particular space
Genre - The kind or category of visuals.

Ex. Landscape, portrait, nature photography, abstract painting, etc.

(Intensity - Purity or strength of a color (brightness or dullness)*** not on spec list)
Harmony - The quality that binds the parts of a visual image into a while. It is often created through simplicity and repetition
Lighting - the amount or type of light in a photograph, painting, or other artwork
Line - The basic unit of any image that has both length and direction
Movement - A sense of energy in a visual, determined by the spaces between shapes and by the shapes themselves
Panel - a section depicting a single scene in a comic strip
Perspective - the appearance of objects to an observer allowing for the effect of their distance from the observer
Proportion - the correct or desirable relationship of size, quantity, or degree between two or more things or parts of something
Scale - a ratio representing the size of an illustration or reproduction, especially a map or a model, in relation to the object it represents
Shadow - a darkened shape on a surface that falls behind somebody or something blocking the light
Symbol - covered in previous notes, it still remains that a symbol is a person, place, or object which stands for or represents an abstract thought or idea i.e. the Canadian flag represents our country, its people, its ideas and its history
Symmetry - the property of being the same or corresponding on both sides of a central dividing line; the harmony and beauty that results from such balance
(Value - Lightness or darkness of a color *** not on spec list)

Caricature - a drawing, description, or performance that exaggerates somebody's or something's characteristics for humorous or satirical effect
Collage- a picture made by sticking cloth, pieces of paper, photographs, and other objects onto a surface i.e. see my right wall
Comic Strip - a series of cartoons that tell a story or a joke i.e. Garfield, Peanuts, Cathy, For Better For Worse are my favorites
Editorial Cartoon - a cartoon that appears in the editorial section of a newspaper, using humour to criticize a serious issue in the news
Graphics - the presentation of information in the form of diagrams and illustrations instead of as words or numbers
Photo essay - a collection of photographs in a magazine or book (or English project), often accompanied by a short commentary, that provide an overview
Poster - a printed picture, often a reproduction of a photograph or artwork, used for decoration or advertisement
Print - a work of art made by inking a surface with a raised design and pressing it onto paper or another surface
Storyboard - a set of sketches, arranged in sequence on panels, outlining the scenes that will make up something to be filmed, e.g., a motion picture, television show, or advertisement

Drumming for Mandela

Text: Views and Viewpoints, p. 243-245

The South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) helped bring an end to apartheid and has been a global advocate for human rights.

  • Watch a short documentary about Mandela’s life:


  • Read the poem Drumming for Mandela on p. 243-244 and answer questions 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6.

  1. Given what you know or have learned about Nelson Mandela, what do you think is the main message of the visual?

  2. Explain how the following visual devices enhance the visual’s meaning: composition, color, focal point, line.

  3. What does Mandela symbolize in the visual? Give evidence to support your response.

  4. Choose two elements from the visual and explain how these reveal the oppression of Apartheid.

  5. Compare the mood of the visual to that created in the poem. Show, with reference to both texts, how the atmosphere is established.

I.D. Entity

Text: Views and Viewpoints, p. 241-242

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