7 Poetic Terminology Every New Reader Should Know

In this article, we will introduce you to poetic terminology or special terms used in poetry you should know.

Poetry, most especially poems, may be imagined as a text composed of rhyming lines and metered words. Think about the songs nowadays which are considered as poems. Most of them have no rhyme and do not have the measure, but they are considered as beautiful and artistic poems. It is because they are in a form of free verse. Free verse is a poetry without a regular pattern of meter or rhyme.

One thing that you should remember while reading a poem is not to be too literal in terms of giving meanings to the words you will read. Because, sometimes, words do not mean what exactly they mean in the reality when used in poetry. The associations called up by a word that goes beyond its dictionary meaning is called Connotation, and it is being used to give life to poetry.

Imagery is not all about images we can imagine while reading a poem. When a reading a poem, you might encounter a poem like this, "The girl ran her hands on a soft satin fabric." The idea of "soft" in this example appeals to our sense of touch or tactile sense. Therefore, imagery is all about using words to describe objects, actions, and ideas in such a way that it appeals to our physical senses.

Often, poetry readers may encounter lines like this "She is like an angel." The "like" in this example means a direct comparison of a girl to an angel, and this is called simile. We can also use as, so, than or various verbs such as resemble in the simile. What if these verbs will be removed, and the example will be like this. "She is like an angel."? This is called a metaphor. A comparison between essentially unlike things without an explicitly comparative word such as like or as.

"The pen is mightier than the sword." You might be thinking that this is absurd, but while reading a poem, you should be thinking that the pen refers to written words and sword to military force. This is Metonymy--- the replacement of a name of a thing with something that is closely associated with it.

If metonymy is the use of words closely related to something it pertains to, synecdoche refers to the whole of a thing by the name of any one of its parts, so when you read "The glamour of his wheels." This does not mean that the wheels are glamorous but the car because wheels pertain to a car.

"I'll give you the stars, for you are that beautiful to be beside them." The exaggeration in this example gives the readers the emotions that the writer wants them to feel. It is given that this is really impossible and really exaggerates, but this just superbly adds beauty to the poetry. This is Hyperbole or the figure of speech that involves an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis on the emotions and ideas.

- Addonizio, Kim, and Dorianne Laux. The poet's companion: A guide to the pleasures of writing poetry. WW Norton & Company, 2010.

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Last review and update: August 30, 2021
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Ben Benjabutr is the editor of BookWorm4Life. He holds a Master's Degree in business with 10+ years of work experience and 8+ years of experience in blogging and online content production. He enjoys reading books about business, lifestyle and literature and he loves to share what he learns from books. You can drop him a line via e-mail.