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Richie Hayes

Limerick Tutorial College

Buzz Words & Figurative Language In Poetry Acrostic: A puzzle poem in which the beginning, middle or last letters of each line form a word when read vertically. Alliteration: repetition of closely connected words beginning with the same letter, usually a consonant. It is used to highlight the feeling of sound and movement, to intensify meaning, or to bind words together, e.g. "the Burning Bushes" or " Sing a Song of Sixpence"! Assonance: repetition of identical vowel sounds in order to achieve a particular effect. Broad Vowels (a,o,u) can slow down a line, making it sound sad and weary. E.g. “A four foot box, a foot for every year” & "Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs/ About the lilting house and happy as the grass is green." Ballad: a simple song which tells a story through dialogue. It is characterized by uncomplicated language and melodic refrain. The literary ballad is a narrative poem written in imitation of the folk ballad. Each verse is made up of four lines, with the second and fourth line endings rhyming. Content: is simply what the poem is about – its themes, ideas and story-line. For example, in Seamus Heaney’s ‘Mid-Term Break’, the poet remembers coming home from boarding school to attend his young brother’s funeral. In the poem he recalls the confusion and deep sadness of the experience. Enjambment: When a sentence runs from one line of poetry into the next line without any punctuation marks. Enjambment / Run on lines help to emphasise meaning or excitement. "But in contentment I still feel/ the need of some imperishable bliss." Emotive Language: is words and phrases that cause an emotional response in the reader, e.g. the defenceless kittens seemed scared. Form: Form is how the poem is structured or organised? What are the effects of this particular shape? In a sonnet, for example, the poem confines thoughts and feelings to fourteen lines. This condensed form usually means that the feelings in the poem are more intense. Hyperbole: Deliberate exaggeration, used to emphasise a point. Generally used for expressive or comic effect. A hyperbole is not to be taken literally. Example: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Imagery: The pictures in the poem. Sometimes, poets use comparisons to help us more clearly understand what is being said. Similes, metaphors and personification are used to create vivid imagery. Created by Richie Hayes 2009


Richie Hayes

Limerick Tutorial College

Lyric: originally poetry meant to be sung, accompanied by lyre or lute. Now refers to category of poetry that is short, concentrated in expression, personal in its subject matter, and songlike in quality. Lyric Poem: A poem that centers on a significant experience in the poets life, usually about the emotions created by an event. Poets reflect on all kinds of things, such as seeing a field of wild daffodils (William Wordsworth’s ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’) or being bullied when young (Stephen Spender’s ‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’). Metaphor: A direct comparison, without using the words, like, as or than. E.G. "that child is a perfect monkey." Mood: refers to the atmosphere in the poem and is closely linked to the tone. It could be happy, sad, tense, positive, romantic, etc. Onomatopoeia: use of words which echo their meaning in sound, e.g. "snap", “crackle", “miaow” and "pop"! Personification: When a poet treats objects or something in nature as if they were alive. E.g. “the door groaned on its hinges”, “she’s a beauty” (talking about a car), “the wind whistled” Pun: (a play on words): two different meanings are drawn out of a single word, usually for comedy Rap: popular song form which utilizes several poetic devices, most notably the play of language within a strict rhythmic scheme. As a song form it makes use of rhyme and refrain; punning, improvisation and aphoristic verse are qualities which are also characteristic. Refrain: a recurring phrase or line, especially at the end of a verse, or appearing irregularly throughout a song or poem. It is used to create unity, to accumulate plot and meaning or to maintain rhythm and melody. Repetition: is a common feature of poetry, e.g. Wordsworth’s ‘the solitary reaper’: ‘Behold her, single in the field, Yon solitary highland lass! Reaping and singing by herself.’ Poets often add emphasis to what they are describing by using words with similar meanings several times. Sound effects, such as rhyme and alliteration, are also types of repetition.

Created by Richie Hayes 2009


Richie Hayes

Limerick Tutorial College

Rhyme: The use of words with matching sounds, usually at the end of each line. Rhythm: is the beat or pace of the words. It can be regular or irregular, slow or fast, depending on the effect the poet wants to create. In W H Auden’s poem ‘Night Mail’ the fast-moving rhythm gives the impression of a powerful train moving through the countryside: ‘This is the night mail crossing the border, Bringing the cheque and the postal order, Letters for the rich, letters for the poor, The shop at the corner, the girl next door’. Simile: a comparison using the words ‘like’, ‘as’ or ‘than’. E.G. She’s as light as a feather. Sound Effects: poets choose words very carefully and they pay close attention to their sound as well as their meaning, it is very important to also be aware of this. Stanza: is a section of a poem, sometimes called a verse (particularly if it rhymes) Symbol: when a word, phrase or image 'stands for' or evokes a complex set of ideas, the meaning of which is determined by the surrounding context, i.e. the sun can symbolize life and energy, a red rose can symbolize romantic love. Tone: this is tone of the voice that we can imagine when reading the poem. It could be serious, sincere, angry, mocking, sad, persuasive, etc. Voice: is the speaker in the poem – either the poet’s own voice or a character created by the poet.

Created by Richie Hayes 2009


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