Although poetry and prose share plenty of literary devices, there are some that are more common to poetry, and it can be hard to discuss poetry without them. Here’s a few of the most important ones:
- Stanza: A stanza is a group of lines. It’s the paragraph of the poem, and different stanza types are named by the number of lines contained in the stanza (a couplet, for instance, has 2 lines).
- Verse: This term either refers to poetry as a whole or a single line of poetry.
- Meter: This is the rhythm pattern of the poem. If you ever learned to read music, it’s the same idea only using words. It’s generally measured in stressed (/) and unstressed syllables (u) since the way words are pronounced is what creates the rhythm pattern.
- Perfect Rhyme: A perfect rhyme is when two words sound exactly the same except for the starting sound (Wait, freight, and late, for instance).
- Rhyme Scheme: A rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming words at the ends of the lines, so a rhyme scheme of ABA means that the word at the end of the first line rhymes with the word at the end of the third line (but not the second).
- Assonance: This is when words have matching vowel sounds (such as “meet” and “unity” – note that the spelling doesn’t matter).
- Consonance: This is when words have matching consonant sounds in the middle or end of the words (i.e., “little” and “bent“).
- Slant Rhyme: This is cheating at rhyme. It’s not perfect. Either only the suffix rhymes perfectly, or there’s a vowel/consonant sound off at some point in the series.
- Internal Rhyme: Internal rhyme is when words inside the line rhyme.
- Alliteration: Two words have alliteration when they both start with the same consonant sound (who and have).
These are only the tip of the iceberg: Meter and stanza types alone could add another 10 at the very least (and without breaking a sweat). These 10, however, make a good start.