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    submitted 19 August 2005 @ 19:43
    edited 07 December 2005 @ 11:35

Poetry Toolbox

Article written by Moderator
Rating: Excellent (4.5) (4.5 rating, 4 ratings)

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This poetic tool box hopefully will provide a method in which to slay the dragons besieging the castles of creation and deystroy writer’s block. The foul and disorderly demon whom shall be vanquished, so one may rise above the tryanny of the frozen hand.

The tool box is in and of itself is just that. Tools a writer may use at their disposal if they deem it neccesary and at their choosing.

Tools (In alphabetical order)




Allegory
An allegory, as above, is a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning. Sometimes allegories are just a single word, such as a character being named Hope or Charity. In other cases, it is a symbolic narrative.




Analogy
An analogy is a comparison, usually something unfamiliar with something familiar. “The plumbing in my house is a maze of turns where even water gets lost.”




Alliteration
The repetition of consonantal sounds in words close together, particularly using letters at the beginning of words or stressed syllables. “The time to talk to tarantula’s touring Texas;”




Aside
Similar to the solilquy is the aside, a convention for expressing characters’ minds. It is a short remark made in the presence of others but which only the audience is privy to. The aside is often used to show duplicity or hypocrisy in great detail.




Assonance
The sequential repetition of vowel sounds, particularly in stressed syllables. “Asleep under a tree” is an example. “Time and tide.”




Blank verse
Written in unrhymed (“blank”) lines of iambic pentameter.




Cacophony (Fancy word for tongue twister)
A jarring, jangling juxtaposition of words can be used to bring attention, too. Cacophony is discordant language that can be difficult to pronounce.




Consonance
The repetition of a pattern of consonants within words in which the separating vowels differ, as in the pairs “leaf” and “loaf” or “room” and “roam.” Sound, not spelling, is the criterion for consonance.




Euphony
Lines that are musically pleasant to the ear bring euphony. There is a harmony and a beauty to the language, which is what many poets are often after. An example of would be “Cellar Door”




Euphemism
The substitution of something that might be offensive or hurtful with something more innocuous. “Your dog is sleeping.” is a euphemism for “Your dog died.”




Free verse
Sometimes confused with blank verse, which does not rhyme but has a set metrical pattern. Free verse, on the other hand, has no rules whatsoever. The lines are irregular and may or may not rhyme. Instead of fitting content to form, the poet allows content to shape the form, changing line length and meter to emphasize words and sounds. Free verse develops its own rhythms, most often annotated by the use of the line-break, and is capable of complex effects of rhythmical and syntactical ambiguity.




Hyperbole
Figurative language which greatly overstates or exaggerates facts, whether in earnest or for comic effect. “The golden gate bridge is San Fransisco...”




Imagery
The term imagery has various applications. Generally, imagery includes all kinds of sense perception (not just visual pictures). In a more limited application, the term describes visible objects only (especially ones that are vivid). Some works make use of image-clusters (groupings of metaphors and similes),. or have characteristic image motifs.




Irony
Irony uses contradictory statements or situations to reveal a reality different from what appears to be true. For instance, it is ironic for a police officer to have a criminal in the family or for a gas station to serve beans. A verbal irony is when someone says one thing but means another. “’Hey, Slim,’ she said to the fat man.”




Metaphor
A metaphor is an analogy, but it usually goes a step further, comparing two unlike things without using “like” or “as.” Metaphors can be subtle and powerful and transform people, places, things, and ideas into fresh visions.

A great way to move into metaphor is to use active verbs instead of forms of “to be” (am, are, is, was, were, been). “Her fingers danced across the keyboard.” Fingers don’t really dance—but it expresses what is meant. “Her breath skated across my lips.” You get the idea.

Another way to create metaphor is to plunk two unlike things on either side of “is” (or other form of “to be”). “She is a mule for love.” “Jack was the Billy of con artists.” “The cat was a concert.” “My toes were free loving hippies.” When you create a great metaphor, you create a picture that says far more than a plain description.

Technically, the subject to which the metaphor is applied is the tenor (cat) whereas the metaphorical term is the vehicle (concert). In an implicit metaphor, the tenor (subject) is not specified but implied.




Meter
Meter is the organization of speech rhythms (verbal stresses) into regular patterns, in terms of both the arrangement of stresses and their frequency of repetition per line of verse.
Poetry is organized by the division of each line of verse into “feet,” metric units which each consist of a particular arrangement of strong and weak stresses. The most common metric unit is the iambic foot, in which an unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed one (as in the words “reverse” and “compose”).
Meter is also determined by the number of feet in a line. A line with five feet is called pentameter; thus, a line of five iambs is known as “iambic pentameter”

The most common line lengths are:
trimeter: three feet
tetrameter: four feet
pentameter: five feet
hexameter: six feet (an “Alexandrine” when iambic)
heptameter: seven feet (a “fourteener” when iambic)
Naturally, there is a degree of variation from line to line, as a rigid adherence to the meter results in unnatural or monotonous language. A skillful poet manipulates breaks in the prevailing rhythm of a poem for particular effects.




Oxymoron
An oxymoron is a type of paradox that combines two terms ordinarily seen as opposites. Such as “Military Intelligence”.




Onomatopoeia
Onomatopoeia refers either to words which resemble in sound what they denote (“boom,” “whiz,” “pop”), or to words that correspond in other ways with what they describe.




Ode
An ode is a long lyric poem which deals with a serious subject in an elevated style.




Pun
A pun is a play on words. It exploits the multiple meanings of a word, or else replaces one word with another that is similar in sound but has a very different meaning.




Rant
A rant is a peice written about a particular subject or group of subjects that the writer has a beef with. Much like an essay the rant occasionally attempts to sway the audience or readers opinion about the subject by various means.




Rhythm
Essential in poetry and often in prose, rhythm refers to the regular or progressive patterns of accents in lines or sentences. Rhythm helps with the flow of your words. One measure of rhythm is meter.




Rhyme
In poetry, rhyme is used to echo sounds; one word sounds like another. Rhymed words call attention to each other, so carry more weight. While rhymed poetry has not been particularly popular in the last forty years, it is coming back do to the lack of use of rhymes, however many songwriters still use them too often. In fact, it makes it easier for listeners to remember the words, (supposedly) and it also helps carry rhythm. Judicious use of rhyme in prose can bring a subtle emphasis to particular words. “He never wanted to fly because he didn’t want to die.” However excessive or predictable use of rhyme may work on short peices, yet in longer one's such as epic's the use of rhyme merely becomes annoying and hence one of the main reasons poetry and poets are not well respected when using the "supposedly" traditional methods.

Words rhyme when their concluding syllables have a similar sound. Two words are said to rhyme if their last stressed vowel and the sounds that follow it match (as in “afar” and “bizarre,” “biology” and “ideology,” or “computer” and “commuter”).

End-rhymes are words at the end of successive lines which rhyme with each other: The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other milk.
(Ogden Nash)

Internal rhymes are rhyming words within a line: “The sails at noon left off their tune” (Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” [1797]).

A distinction is also made between masculine rhyme, in which only one syllable rhymes (“loud” and “proud”), and feminine rhyme, in which the rhyme extends over more than one syllable, both stressed and unstressed (“cooking” and “looking”).

A perfect rhyme is one in which the two sounds correspond exactly (“by hook or by crook”).

In partial rhyme the sounds are similar but not identical, however, that differences in dialect and the evolution of the language make some rhymes more or less perfect over time; thus in the seventeenth century “prove” and “love, “brazen” and “reason” were perfect rhymes.




Realism
A realistic literary work is one that attempts to persuade its readers that the created world is very like the world the readers inhabit.




Repetition
Repetition is the purposeful re-use of a word, phrase, image or sound, and is fundamental to poetry.




Simile
Simile is a direct comparison of two unlike things using primarily “like” or “as.” “Her lips were like gun fire” is a simile. However, “Her shoe is like my mother’s shoe” is not a simile, because the two things are the same. “Her shoe is like my mother’s make-up,” however, would be a simile.




Soliloquy
In a soliloquy, one speaks to oneself. In drama, soliloquy is the convention whereby characters speak their thoughts aloud while alone, thus communicating to the audience their mental state, intentions, and motives.




Sonnet
A sonnet is a fourteen-line lyric poem in a single stanza, in which lines of iambic pentameter are linked by an elaborate rhyme scheme.
There are two main types of sonnet rhyme scheme.

Petrarchan or Italian sonnet
Divides into an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines); the first part rhymes abbaabba, and the second part cdecde (sometimes with only two rhymes, cdccdc). Ordinarily, the octave establishes a problem or situation which is resolved in the sestet.

Shakespearean or English sonnet
Divides into three quatrains (four-line groupings) and a final couplet, rhyming abab cdcd efef gg. The structure of the English sonnet usually follows the Petrarchan, or explores variations on a theme in the first three quatrains and concludes with an epigrammatic. couplet. In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, the subject shifts towards a conclusion in the third quatrain and ends with the epigram.

In sonnet sequences, or cycles, a series of sonnets are linked by a common theme.




Stanzas
Stanzas are to poetry what paragraphs are to prose. They are groups of lines that have been separated from other groups of lines in the poem.
Often the stanzas within a specific poem have consistent patterns of rhyme and meter, but poems may also be divided into completely irregular stanzas. Specific types of stanzas include the couplet, a pair of rhymed lines (see heroic couplet) ; the tercet, a three-line stanza in which all three lines rhyme; terza rima, a series of tercets in which the rhymes interlock (aba bcb cdc and so on); the quatrain, a four-line stanza; and ottava rima, which rhymes abababcc. (See also sonnet.)

Verse paragraphs are like their prose counterparts. In longer poems in blank verse or heroic couplets, the paragraph becomes the organizing principle.




Stream-of-consciousness
Stream-of-consciousness narration is a variant of the limited third-person point of vew; the narrator relates only what is experienced by a character’s mind from moment to moment, presenting life as thought process, or interior monologue. More precisely, “stream of consciousness” refers to any lengthy passages of introspection in literature; whereas “interior monologue” denotes a narrative entirely in a wandering, introspective style.




Symbolism
Symbol is an image that represents or stands for something else. Flags, for instance, represent countries. The Statue of Liberty represents freedom. (These are clichés, too.) In your own work, you may create symbols that are true to your piece alone. In The Great Gatsby, the green light at the end of the dock becomes a symbol for hope.




Versification
Versification deals with the principles and uses of meter, rhyme, and stanza forms, sometimes also extending to sound effects (figures of sound) such as alliteration, assonance and consonance, and onomatopoeia.



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