The Building Blocks Of Poetry: A Guide To Understanding Poetic Devices

Gayathri Krithika
Sep 30, 2019   •  60 views

Poetry and its devices

What is poetry? So many definitions have been derived so far, for that single question. Poetry is a great way to express one's inner feelings. A poem is written in such a way that it is not biased against the society and one particular thought with which the poem is written. Poetry has adapted very many styles and narratives from the day of its existence as a literary form. Poetry is made of many devices and those devices in turn contributes the best aspect of poetry. Devices are specialized components of a poem. It's also called terminologies of the great aspect called poetry. Devices derive the technicalities of a poem. Studying the poetic devices would be like dismantling a poem and deconstructing it.

Difference between prose and poetry

When we look at the form in which it is written, A prose is far more different than a poem. But in fact prose and poetry are the same except for the fact that a poem is versified whereas the prose is not so. When both be there same what makes the difference between prose and poetry? It is the devices that are used in poetry which makes poetry unique and it completes the form. Poetry's musicality and the rise and fall of intonations in a poem makes the difference and those are what makes a poem a poem and a prose work lacks these basic qualities.

5 major poetic devices explained with examples


Rhymes are those which sound similar but the spelling, meaning and the word itself wouldn't be similar. Rhymes in a poem occur both internally and at the end of the lines in a poem. Rhymes contribute a greater part in the poetic devices aspect. There are poems without rhymes and in that case the variation of intonation would compensate for the absence of rhyme in the poem.

Eg: Jack and Jill

Went up the hill!


Variation in the intonation Source: Pinterest


Alliteration is the repetitive sound that is seen prominently in all the lines of a poem. There are not only poems with alliteration. Brand names, tongue twisters, catchy titles etc. Also hold the concept of alliteration. Alliteration is one of the stronger parts in a poem in which the musicality of a poem is achieved to the core only by this one single concept. Eventually, poems nowadays necessarily do not contain much of alliterations. Does this affect the quality of a poem anymore? Audience now began to accept the fact that every poem is a purest form of a poet's vision. However alliteration may be considered as a backbone to poetry.


Alliteration- A simple Example Source: Pinterest


Metaphor-The indirect comparison! Every poem has an inspiration from some other things. Every poem has one subject and every other subject that is in relation to the subject concentrated can also contribute to the central theme of the poem. A metaphor is a short comparison between what is within the subject of the poem to something which is very much deviated from the subject dealt. The use of comparison in poetry is to clearly explain the readers the pure and true feelings of the poet. For that one reason no poet would use whatever comparison he needs in his poem. The poet would carefully scrutinize and choose what is necessarily needed at that juncture for comparison purposes.


What's Metaphor? Source: Grammarly


Personification is one such concept which can easily explain the fact that the poet is also a child. A matured child, indeed. It's all because a child would have the habit of personifying things, dolls and all of his possessions. This habit of a child explains the innocence of a child. Same way, a poet who is purely innocent in nature while writing a poem uses personification to the nonliving for a better understanding of his ideas and thoughts.


Personified Leaves Source: Pinterest


Allusion is when a poetic work has a reference to something else. It would be a historical event, backgrounder or a story. Allusion simply means, A story within a story. Allusions gives the readers the wider dimension of the poet's knowledge. Allusion is one such device that would openly and clearly state the depth of knowledge of the poet.


Allusion in Characters Source: Penlighten

How did these poetic devices impact a poem?

As mentioned earlier, poetic devices are for the betterment of a poem. What if a poem is written without all these devices? Is it a blunt poem? Not at all, since poetry itself doesn't come with all these devices implemented at its formation state, a poem all of a sudden cannot be termed and attributed to be wrong when these devices go missing. The role of these poetic devices is to create an intensity in the feelings of the readers who read the poems. One must read one entire poem, once started. He/she must not get diverted in the middle and that lies within the charismatic power of the poet who uses the poetic devices as a tool of his power and there lies a poet's success.


A poem is a poem with or without these poetic devices implemented in it. Never the quality of a poem is disturbed with the absence and the presence of these poetic devices. There a many more poetic devices that also has the least contribution to a poem. But that is a poetic device and when it's absence doesn't affect the quality of the poem the same would be the other poetic devices and it's presence or absence never destroy the quality of a poem.