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Poetry Terms Beginning With 'O'

Poetry Terms - o. This is a comprehensive resource of poetry terms beginning with the letter o.

See also Forms of Poetry...



Objective Correlative

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Definition

Term devised by T.S. Eliot to describe a poet's attempt to find a concrete or specific situation/location/thing which evokes a particular emotion in the reader (as opposed to attempting to describe the emotion itself.) In The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Eliot writes: 


Objectivists

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Definition

Group of poets including Carl Rakosi, George Oppen, Charles Reznikoff, Basil Bunting and Louis Zukofsky. Objectivism grew out of imagism. The objectivists looked to Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams as mentors.


Oblique Rhyme

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Definition

Alternative term for near rhyme.


Occasion, The

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Definition

What event or incident, if any, has motivated the speaker?


Occasional verse

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Definition

Verse written to celebrate an occasion such as a coronation, a wedding or a birth. At national level, occasional verse would be one of the duties of the poet laureate.


Octameter

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Definition

A line of eight metrical feet.

Example

Trochaic

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door
(Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven")

Dactylic

Ere frost-flower and snow-blossom faded and fell, and the splendour of winter had passed out of sight,
The ways of the woodlands were fairer and stranger than dreams that fulfil us in sleep with delight;
The breath of the mouths of the winds had hardened on tree-tops and branches that glittered and swayed
Such wonders and glories of blossomlike snow or of frost that outlightens all flowers till it fade
(A. C. Swinburne, "March: An Ode")


Octave

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Definition

A stanza comprising of eight lines; sometimes known as an octet or octastich.


Octosyllabic Line

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Definition

A line containing eight syllables e.g. iambic tetrameter.


Offbeat

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Definition

Work which is quirky or unconventional.


Old English

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Definition

The written and spoken language of England from the first half of the 5th Century to the period just after the Norman Conquest; often referred to as Anglo-Saxon. The two pre-eminent texts from this period are Beowulf and The Dream of the Rood.


Onomatopoeia

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Definition

Also spelled onomatopœia. A figure of speech that employs a word, or occasionally, a grouping of words, that imitates the sound it is describing, and thus suggests its source object. A word imitating a sound.

Example

buzz
moo
beep
bang
click


Open Syllables

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Definition

Open syllables are syllables that end in a vowel. The most common open syllable is the CV syllable.


Opera

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Definition

A dramatic work set to music e.g. Aida by Verdi.


Operetta

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Definition

A short or humorous opera.


Opus

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Definition

A musical composition or set of compositions or an artistic work - usually on a grand scale. See also Magnum Opus.


Oral Poetry

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Definition

Poetry composed to be recited rather than read. Oral poetry was a feature of many pre-literate societies. Much of it was chanted to a musical accompaniment.


Organic Form

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Definition

The form taken by poetry which arises naturally from its subject matter - as opposed to  'mechanic form' e.g. stanzaic or metrical patterns which can be imposed upon it.


Overstatement

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Definition

See hyperbole.


Oxymoron

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Definition

Figure of speech containing two seemingly contradictory expressions e.g. 'Faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.' (Idylls of the King by Tennyson)