Weekly Vocab Builder: Poetic Terms

April is National Poetry Month. In honor of that, this week’s vocabulary words are all poetry terms.

  • Alliteration: “Repetition of the same sounds or of the same kinds of sounds at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables”
  • Assonance: Repetition of a vowel sound
  • Consonance: Repetition of a consonant sound, especially at the end of a word
  • Onomatopoeia: Words that sound like their meaning, such as plop and crunch
  • Hyperbole: An exaggeration, used especially for effect

You can get the Vocab Builder every weekday by following me on Twitter.

  • Ballad: “A narrative poem, often of folk origin and intended to be sung, consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a refrain.”
  • Haiku: A short poem from Japanese tradition, consisting of three lines of five syllables, seven syllables, and five syllables; traditional topics include nature or seasons
  • Ode: “A lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanzaic structure.”
  • Conceit: “A fanciful poetic image, especially an elaborate or exaggerated comparison.”
  • Scansion: “Analysis of verse into metrical patterns.”

There are so many more poetry terms out there. Add your favorites to my Wordnik list or in the comments below.

And I just can’t resist leaving you with a snippet of a poem that opens with the word April:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar kine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
–T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland

About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug...hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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