10 Poetic Devices With Examples
The purpose of this article is to provide a concise overview of 10 poetic devices with examples. The devices are simile, metaphor, alliteration, onomatopoeia, assonance, consonance, hyperbole, personification, imagery, and symbolism. Poetic devices can add beauty and depth to writing by lending it a more lyrical quality. They can also be used to produce an effect or convey a message.
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Alliteration is a poetic device that repeats the same letter at the beginning of adjacent or nearby words. It can be used to create a feeling of unity within a sentence or to emphasize certain words.
Alliteration is often used in children’s stories to make them more fun and engaging. In addition, alliteration can be used in advertising to create a catchy slogan or phrase. Alliteration is often used in poetry and song lyrics but can be found in other forms of writing as well.
A close examination of “In a Whispering Garden” will that Thomas Hardy uses three examples of alliteration. The first instance is in the ‘sp’ letter combination, in words such as spirit, speaking, spell, spot, and splendid.
The second example is in his use of ‘g’ found in the words gaunt, gray, and gallery. And finally, his use of ‘s’ towards the end of the poem in the words, see and soul’s. Read the poem below to see how alliteration enhances the quality of the piece.
Example of Alliteration:
In a Whispering Garden
“That whisper takes the voice
Of a Spirit, speaking to me,
Close, but invisible,
And throws me under a spell
At the kindling vision it brings;
And for a moment I rejoice,
And believe in transcendent things
That would make of this muddy earth
A spot for the splendid birth
Of everlasting lives,
Whereto no night arrives;
And this gaunt gray gallery
A tabernacle of worth
On this drab-aired afternoon,
When you can barely see
Across its hazed lacune
If opposite aught there be
Of fleshed humanity
Wherewith I may commune;
Or if the voice so near
Be a soul’s voice floating here.”
Assonance is a poetic device that uses similar vowel sounds in neighboring words. This repetition of sound can add rhythm and unity to a poem. Assonance can also be used for emphasis or to create a certain mood or feeling. By using assonance, poets can make their poems more memorable to read. vice that repeats vowel sounds, such as in ‘potato potato peeling perfect. ” It is not as commonly used as other poetic devices, but can be very effective when used correctly. The repetition of vowel sounds can create a sense of unity within a poem and add to the meaning or feeling being conveyed.
One of the easiest ways to identify the use of assonance in poetry is to read the poem out loud. Because assonance is a sound device, it makes it easier to identify its usage when you read the work out loud. Read Amy Lowell’s piece out loud to find instances of assonance usage.
Example of Assonance:
In a Garden
Gushing from the mouths of stone men
To spread at ease under the sky
In granite-lipped basins,
Where iris dabble their feet
And rustle to a passing wind,
The water fills the garden with its rushing,
In the midst of the quiet of close-clipped lawns.
Damp smell the ferns in tunnels of stone,
Where trickle and plash the fountains,
Marble fountains, yellowed with much water.
Splashing down moss-tarnished steps
It falls, the water;
And the air is throbbing with it;
With its gurgling and running;
With its leaping, and deep, cool murmur.
And I wished for night and you.
I wanted to see you in the swimming-pool,
White and shining in the silver-flecked water.
While the moon rode over the garden,
High in the arch of night,
And the scent of the lilacs was heavy with stillness.
Night and the water, and you in your whiteness, bathing!
Consonance is a poetic device in which two or more words are repeated consecutively and produce a pleasing sound. This repetition can be of the same letter, as in “she sells sea shells (by the sea shore),” or of different letters, as in “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” In both cases, the consonants are repeated to create a musical effect.
Example of Consonance:
Note how the ‘ng’ sound is repeated in part of the poem below by Shel Silverstein.
I’ll swing by my ankles.
She’ll cling to your knees.
As you hang by your nose,
From a high-up trapeze.
But just one thing, please,
As we float through the breeze,
Hyperbole is an exaggeration of a statement for the purpose of emphasis. It is often used for comedic or rhetorical effects. While hyperbole may be considered a form of dishonesty, it can also be seen as a figure of speech that allows people to communicate more effectively. Hyperbole can be used to make a point more clearly or to lighten the mood in a difficult situation.
Example of Hyperbole:
In the third stand of ‘A Red, Red Rose’ Burn made excellent use of hyperbole. Read the poem below to see how effectively this was done.
A Red, Red Rose
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.
One of the most important devices in poetry is imagery. Imagery is the use of words to create pictures in the mind of the reader. Good imagery can make a poem come alive, while poor imagery can make it difficult to understand. Many elements can be used to create images, including words that evoke sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
Example of Imagery:
Wordsworth made use of visual imagery well in this piece to help get his message across to the readers. Read the poem below.
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
A simile is a comparison between two things, typically using the words “like” or “as.” Similes are often used in poetry and literature to create a more vivid image for the reader. They can also be used in everyday speech to make a point clear or to add humor. For example, you might say, “my head is spinning like a top” to describe how you feel after a long day.
Example of Simile:
In this simile poem for kids, Michele Meleen compares her mom to a cloud. Read below.
My mom is like a cloud,
comfortable and strong.
I am like a raindrop
she keeps safe and sound.
When I am fully formed
she’ll let me go
dropping into the world
like a raindrop to the ground.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that uses an image to convey a meaning that is different from the literal meaning of the words. For example, if someone says, “the room was spinning,” they are not really saying that the room was moving around; they are saying that their world was spinning out of control. Metaphors can be used to make ideas more concrete or to communicate emotions.
Example of Metaphor:
In lines 2 and 3 Keats uses metaphor brilliantly by comparing the writing process to reaping and sowing. See the full poem below.
When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
Onomatopoeia is a word or phrase that imitates the sound it represents. English has many onomatopoeic words, such as caw, moo, and hiss. Onomatopoeia can be used to create a sense of realism in writing, as well as to convey emotion. For example, the hiss of a snake might be used to convey anger, while the purr of a cat might be used to convey contentment.
Example of Onomatopoeia:
In this piece, Brooks used onomatopoeia to effectively convey Cynthia’s feelings about the effects of the snow.
Cynthia in the snow
The loudness in the road
And laughs away from me
It laughs lovely whitness
Still white as milk or shirts
So beautiful its hurts
Personification is a figure of speech in which an inanimate object or abstraction is given human qualities or characteristics. This can be done for the purpose of adding interest, humor, or emphasis to a statement. Personification can be found in all forms of literature, from poetry to prose. Some famous examples include Shakespeare’s “The winter’s Tale” in which the statue of Hermione comes to life, and Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” in which the road speaks to the traveler.
Example of Personification:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
One of the most important aspects of literature is symbolism. A symbol is something that represents something else. It can be an object, a person, or a feeling. Symbolism can add depth to a story and make it more meaningful. It can also be used to represent an idea or a theme. Some symbols are obvious, while others are more subtle. The key is to pay attention to the details in order to uncover hidden meanings.
Example of Symbolism:
Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.
In conclusion, poetic devices can enhance writing in a variety of ways. By understanding the different effects they can create, writers can use them to add power and nuance to their work. Additionally, these devices can be used to convey emotion and atmosphere, making the writing more engaging for the reader. With a little practice, anyone can learn to use poetic devices effectively in their writing.