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Poetry provides plenty of room for exploration and experimentation with different ideas, thoughts, and concepts. Poetic devices, therefore, are tools that significantly enhance a piece’s meaning, intensify a mood or create much-needed rhythm. Understanding the different kinds of poetic devices used can be an excellent way to develop your appreciation for the art form. Keep reading to learn more about 8 popular poetic devices used in the industry!
Some of the most popular devices used often in poetry are:
Imagery is a poetic device that adds depth to a sentence or statement. Moreover, the author writes it in a manner that appeals to at least one of a reader’s five senses. With the utilization of the right words and phrases, images are created that are not limited to visual representations (they also extend to internal emotions and physical sensations). Therefore, they are incredibly descriptive.
“My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep.”– Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare)
Metaphor is among the frequently used poetic devices that directly compare two or more individuals, objects, or concepts. Thus, it is a device of meaning that adds another perspective to a sentence. However, unlike similes (another poetic device that compares using the words “like” and “as”), metaphors declare an object that “is” something else. Metaphors use the senses to help you conclude how one thing is almost exactly like the other.
“She is all states, and all princes, I, Nothing else is.”– The Sun Rising (John Donne)
Repetition is among the most frequently used poetic devices, they create a certain rhythm to a poem. This rhythm is often established with rhyming, syllable variation, and repetition. Moreover, repetition is as simple as repeating words, phrases, and/or lines.
The repetition of a specific set of words and phrases is a literary method that indirectly stresses ideas and emotions. The result is an indirect reinforcement of the central theme of the poem.
“To the swinging and the ringing of the bells, bells, bells–”– The Bells (Edgar Allen Poe)
A hyperbole is a poetic device of intensity, that often adds emphasis to the mood of the poem. Thus, hyperboles are exaggerated statements that stress a strong feeling or mood, but not literally.
“Ride ten thousand days and nights,
‘Till age snow white hairs on thee.”– Song: Go and Catch a Falling Star (John Donne)
Symbols are poetic devices of additional information pertaining to the central theme of the poem. The term refers to an object that means more than it actually does (often representing something else). In addition, different places, objects, and actions are put across in a manner that gives deep sense to them.
Symbolism, quite literally, adds depth to the overall message conveyed by the poem. So, an important point to note is that the final meaning is something that can vary from reader to reader, allowing broad room for interpretation.
“I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long, – You come too.”– The Pasture (Robert Frost)
Among the most popular poetic devices, personification adds depth to the overall theme of the poem. Personification is when an inanimate object, animal, or concept is given human characteristics. Non-living things, therefore, are related to human attributes.
“I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately.”-Mirror (Sylvia Plath)
Cacophony is a poetic device of intensifying mood and involves the use of unpleasant, harsh, or nasty sounds (usually consonants). Therefore, the objective is to give you an impression of dread, disorder, and chaos as you read the poetry.
“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”– Jabberwocky (Lewis Carroll)
Among the oldest poetic devices in the history of literature, alliteration is a phonetic structure. In this structure, there is repeated usage of a sound or letter that is usually the first syllable of a word. Moreover, it often owes to the charm and effectiveness it adds to a poem and its meaning. Alliterations are also perfect tongue twisters!
“Bore up his branching head: scarce from his mould
Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved His vastness”– Paradise Lost: The Seventh Book (John Milton)
- Poetic devices are literary tools that enhance the overall effect delivered by poetry.
- There are different kinds of devices, that convey meaning, emphasize mood and emotions, stimulate visual imagery, and add rhythm.
- Understanding the different kinds of poetic devices described in this blog can help you appreciate these works of art from an intellectual perspective!
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Q1. What is onomatopoeia?
Answer- Onomatopoeia is another poetic device that enhances the mood of the poem. The device often uses words that imitate or resemble sounds.
Q2. What are the basic poetic devices of form?
Answer- While the formal choice of a poem is open to the poet, three major poetic devices add a form to prose, such as fixed verse, blank verse, and free verse.
Q3. What are odes?
Answer- Odes are short and lyrical poems that express praise and emotions. Odes originated in ancient Greece but were later adopted by the Romantics to convey emotions.