Literary Devices in Poetry

repetition of BEGINNING CONSONANT sounds

Betty bought butter but the butter was bitter, so Betty bought better butter to make the bitter butter better.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

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The nose knows.

Gnus never know pneumonia

the repetition of vowel sounds

“Hear the lark and harken to the barking of the dark fox gone to ground”
– Pink Floyd

“It’s hot and it’s monotonous.”
– Sondheim

“The crumbling thunder of seas”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

the implied or symbolic meaning of a word
the repetition of FINAL CONSONANT sounds

Struck the peak of bad luck.

First and last

odds and ends

short and sweet

two paired lines of rhymed verse
the literal meaning of a word; a dictionary definition
figure of speech
common devices used by a writer to convey a particular image
free verse
poetry having no regular metric pattern (rhythm) or rhyme scheme. These poems usually do not have end rhyme but the poet does use strong imagery and sound devices such as alliteration, assonance, hyperbole, etc.
an exaggeration or an overstatement to create an imaginative effect
iambic pentameter
the most common meter in English poetry consisting of an unrhymed line with five feet or accents, each foot containing an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable (10 syllables, with an accent on every other one)
a poet’s imaginative use of words and phrases that appeal to the five senses
internal rhyme
rhyming words are within the line of poetry

My strategy has to be tragedy, catastrophe
And after this you’ll call me your majesty…

lyrical voice
– the most common voice used by poets wherein the poet expresses his or her emotions about a particular subject, often using first person pronouns (I, me, mine, we, our, ours, us). This voice tells the poet’s personal experience or comments on a personal perspective.
a direct comparison of two essentially unlike things without the use of “like” or “as”

In it’s simplest form: “The [first thing] is a [second thing].”


Her home was a prison.

The assignment was a breeze.

It’s going to be clear skies from now on.

narrative voice
the poet tells a story, acting as a reporter giving a play by play of a story.
The poet DOES NOT COMMENTATE on the events of the story, nor offer an opinion. The poet is not present in the story.
the use of words to represent or imitate natural sounds
gives lifelike characteristics to non-human or inanimate things. essentially, another kind of metaphor
poetic license
the freedom a writer takes by breaking accepted rules of punctuation, spelling, capitalization, etc, in order to create a particular effect.
poetic voice
the point of view used by the poet to create a specific effect on the audience
rhyme scheme
the plan by which rhyme occurs within a poem, typically referring to rhyme at the end of the line. Different letters are given to each different sent of rhyming words in order to show rhyme pattern.
a comparison of two essentially unlike things using the words “like” or “as”
a group of lines in a poem that form a unit
a tangible object that is used to represent something intangible such as a quality, condition, or idea
– a single line of poetry
– also, a term generally used for non-prose (aka: non-sentence & paragraph form) writing.

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