Before we take a look at some certain elements of poetry, it’d be beneficial to make a short attempt at specifying just what a city is.

You are watching: Which statement best describes how these lines reflect the general structure of the poem?

What exactly is that that makes a poem different, for example, to a item of prose? Or tune lyrics, even?

The truth is that once we acquire down to it poetry isn’t every that basic to pen down. Even poets themselves disagree around what constitutes a poem. What possibility then carry out our struggling students have?

Luckily, there room some broad, general features that have the right to be i agreeed upon. In this article, we will certainly look at these usual features that poetry and also how us can finest instil an knowledge of these in ours students.


It looks favor a poem – if it looks like a poem and also it reads favor a poem, then the chances are pretty good that it is, indeed, a poem. Poetry come in lines, some of which are complete sentences, however many the which space not. Also, usually, this lines don’t operation out come the spare consistently, prefer in, say, a novel. All this gives poetry a distinctive and also recognisable look at on the page.

It frequently has part underlying type holding points together – while this isn’t constantly true (in some free verse, for example) a lot of poetry conforms to a prescribed structure such as in a sonnet, a haiku etc.

It supplies imagery – if the poet is worth his or she salt, they’ll endeavour to create images in the reader’s mind using lots of sensory details and also figurative language.

It has a specific musicality – we might be forgiven for thinking that poetry’s natural incarnation is the created word and also its habitat the page, yet the printed word is not wherein poetry’s origins lie. The faster poems were composed orally and also committed come memory. We can still view the prestige the sound the language plays as soon as we check out poems the end loud. We deserve to see it also in the attention paid to musical devices that are included into the poem. Gadgets such together alliteration, assonance, and also rhyme, for example. We will look at plenty of of these later on in this article.

A finish UNIT top top THE facets OF POETRY and MUCH MORE


THE function OF POETRY: WHAT IS city FOR?

Of all the forms expert writers have the right to take, that is the skilled poet that most frequently finds themself struggling to do ends meet financially. Poetry can be daunting to understand and also require a lot of of initiative on the component of the reader. Students deserve to be forgiven because that wondering what exactly is the allude of this complicated to write and difficult to read a genre that is apparently offered to torture the less literary-minded during their college years.

It might be a difficult sell to few of our an ext reluctant students, yet there is a point behind all this word-smithery.

Poetry’s objective is essentially to aid us know the world around us. The endeavors to display us things anew that us may have previously taken for granted. It provides us new perspectives on the familiar.

Poetry’s objective is to allow us to check out the civilization with fresh eyes again, choose those that a child. In doing this, it help us understand our people in a depths way.

THE structure OF POETRY

We’ve mentioned currently that despite poetry’s origins lie in the talked word, it does take it a very recognizable shape as soon as put down on the page. This is largely because of the as whole organization the the currently on the page, frequently in the form of stanzas.


Though some contemporary forms of city eschew traditional poetic conventions such as rhyme schemes and also meter etc, the stanza tho plays critical role in the all at once look of published poetry.

But, simply what specifically is a stanza? – her students may well ask.

Stanzas space basically the poetic identical of a prose paragraph. They are a collection of lines that space grouped together and also separated indigenous other teams of present or stanzas by a skipped line.

Stanzas come in a variety of lengths, dependent one of two people on the whim that the poet or the conventions the a certain poetic form. There is a variety of technical vocabulary often used to describe stanzas of specific lengths. Below are the most usual of these,

Stanzas of:

● 2 present are referred to as a couplet

● 3 lines are referred to as a tercet

● 4 currently are dubbed a quatrain

● 5 present are referred to as a cinquain

● 6 lines are dubbed a sestet, or occasionally a sexain

● 7 present are called a septet

● 8 present are dubbed an octave


When trying out the elements of poetry we must appreciate there are many different types of poetry, several of which we will look in ~ below. But, nevertheless of the specific form of poetry in question, most likely a poem will certainly fit into one the these 3 overarching varieties of poetry: lyric, narrative, and descriptive.

Lyric Poetry

Lyric poetry involves itself greatly with the emotionally life the the poet, the is, it’s written in your voice and also expresses solid thoughts and also emotions. There is only one voice in a lyric poem and we see the people from that single perspective. Most modern poetry is lyric city in the it is an individual and introspective.

Narrative Poetry

As its name implies, narrative poetry is pertained to with storytelling. Just as in a prose story, a rigid poem will certainly most likely follow the conventions the plot including elements such together conflict, climbing action, climax, resolution etc. Again, together in prose stories, narrative poems will certainly most most likely be peoplel with characters to do the actions of the tale.


Descriptive Poetry

Descriptive poetry commonly employs numerous rich imagery to describe the world approximately the poet. While the most often has a single poetic voice and solid emotional content, descriptive poetry different from lyric poetry in that its emphasis is much more on the externalities of the world, fairly than the interior life that the poet.

We have actually mentioned the poetry frequently hangs on the conventions of details underlying structures. Let’s currently take a look at at few of the an ext common of these subtypes and their defining characteristics.



Sonnets room predominantly involved with problem of the heart. If you see a sonnet’s recognisably blocky form on a page, there’s a great chance the design template will be love. There are two common forms the sonnet: Shakespearean and also Petrarchan. They different slightly in their inner structure, but both have actually 14 lines. Let’s take it look at some an ext of the internal qualities of both forms:


● Comprises 2 stanzas

● The very first 8 lines attitude a question

● second stanza answer the concern posed

● The rhyme system is: ABBA, ABBA, CDECDE


● Comprises 3 quatrains that 4 currently each

● Ends through a rhyming couplet which creates a conclusion

● The rhyme system is: ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG


Haiku is a disciplined kind of city that has actually its beginnings in 17th-century Japanese poetry. Usually, it is pertained to with nature and also natural phenomena such together the seasons, weather etc. Castle are often quite meditative in tone.

However, there space no actual rules about themes, the only real demands here relate come structure:

● They space written in three-line stanzas

● first line includes 5 syllables

● 2nd line includes 7 syllables

● third line consists of 5 syllables

Due come their brief length and restricted requirements, these space usually a the majority of fun because that students come write. They deserve to serve as a great introduction for students to effort to write poetry follow to particular technical needs of a form.



Elegies room a form of poem that don’t really come with specific structural requirements but still constitute a recognisable type of poetry. What provides an elegy an elegy is its subject, the is, death. Elegies space poems that lamentation – the word elegy itself originates from the Greek word elegeia which method to ‘lament’.

● A city of enjoy on death, or on who who has died

● normally comes in three parts expressing loss:

○ grief

○ worship for the deceased

○ and, finally, consolation.


Favorites the school kids everywhere, the most defining characteristic the limericks are their renowned humor. Given their well-deserved reputation for being funny and, ~ above occasion, crude, it’s straightforward to overlook the truth that in ~ the laughs lie fairly a strictly structured verse form.

● 5 lines in total

● distinct verbal rhythm

● 2 longer lines of usually in between 7 to 10 syllables

● 2 much shorter lines the usually between 5 come 7 syllables

● 1 closing heat containing the ‘punchline’

● Rhyme plan is AABBA


Ballads room a type of narrative poetry that has close ties to music forms. Ballads written as poetry have the right to often conveniently be adapted as tune lyrics. If ballads don’t have tight official constrictions choose some other creates of poetry, there are sufficient in the way of distinguishable functions to recognize it together a form.

● tells a story, frequently using basic language

● often romantic, adventurous, or humorous

● arranged in groups of 4 currently or quatrains

● regularly uses alternating 4 and 3 win lines

● Rhyme scheme is generally ABAB or ABCB


Another poetry kind that traces its origins to old Greece, odes were initially intended to it is in sung. Nowadays, despite no much longer sung, the hatchet ode still describes a type of lyrical city that addresses and often praises a details person, thing, or event.

● The writer addresses a person, thing, or event

● Usually has actually a solemn, major tone

● Explores universal elements of the theme

● powerful emotional element, regularly involving catharsis

Odes composed in the classic vein have the right to follow very strict metrical patterns and rhyme schemes, however, many contemporary odes space written in cost-free verse entailing irregular rhythm and without follow to a luck scheme.


These are long narrative poems that recount heroic tales, usually concentrated on a legendary or mythical figure. Think of functions of literary works on a grand range such as The Odyssey, The cattle Raid the Cooley, or Beowulf.

● Employs an objective and also omniscient narrator

● composed in an elevated style

● Recounts heroic events

● grand in scale



Though we describe these gadgets here as ‘poetic devices’, the devices listed below are no the exclusive domain of poetry alone. Numerous of these are to be uncovered in other writing genres too, specifically other an innovative forms such as short stories, novels, and creative nonfiction.

Many of these tools have their origins in poetry’s roots together a talked literary form. They count on the musicality the words; your rhythm and rhyme. They focus on various sound impacts that have the right to be created by the very closely chosen word.

Other tools are more concerned through imagery. They build connections between various ideas and also conjure pictures in the mental of the readers. Together, these tools lift poetry into the realm of art.

The following tools are organized into two sections. The an initial section titled Sound Devices faces the complying with devices: alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, rhyme, and also rhythm.

The second section Figurative Language encounters metaphor, personification, and also simile. These are not expected as an exhaustive list, yet to offer an point out of the possibilities for these facets of poetry. You can find many much more examples of these in our write-up on figurative language.

Students will advantage from discovering the meanings of each of these tools over time. While the is crucial that they find out to identify their use in the poetry of others and to discover to evaluate the results these tools can create, that is equally necessary that the students gain a chance to have actually a walk at producing their own examples of these devices in their very own writing.

It is just by trying their hand at use these gadgets in their own work-related that students deserve to really internalize just how these tools operate. So, in the section below we’ll an initial look at a working definition of the poetic device, then an instance to show it in action, before offering a simple exercise students have the right to undertake to gain much more practice v it themselves.




Meaning: This an equipment involves the repetition of the early stage consonant sound that a series of words, frequently consecutively. Alliteration is many easily defined to students through looking at a few simple tongue twisters, such as Peter Piper or She sells Seashells.


Betty Botter bought a bit of butter

But, the bit of butter Betty Botter bought to be bitter

So Betty Botter bought a much better bit that butter

Exercise: Challenge the student to compose their very own tongue twisters utilizing alliteration. You might wish to give them a subject to write on to gain started. Because that example, younger students may well enjoy writing around animals. They may also wish to rental the sounds animals make in your tongue twister e.g. The slithering snake slid sideways v the grass… when they have written their poem check out if they deserve to identify any other facets of poetry in ~ it.


Meaning: Similarly come alliteration, assonance requires the repetition of sounds in a series of words, regularly consecutive words. However, fairly than repeating the initial sounds, assonance concentrates on the inner vowel sounds that are repeated.


We deserve to find many examples of assonance in poetry and also song. Here’s an instance from the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe: hear the mellow wedding bells

Exercise: Assonance is frequently referred to as ‘vowel rhyme’. The is very common in countless forms of popular music, specifically rap. An obstacle your student to find examples that assonance in the music they listen to and also share them with the class. Lock may also want to shot their hand at writing their own instances too.


Meaning: Consonance is the consonant-focused equivalent to assonance. It entails the repetition of consonant sound in the center or at the end of words, as identified from alliteration whereby the initial sound is repeated.

Example: The raven struck with the thick cloud like a rocket

Exercise: As over there are several similarities between the tools alliteration, assonance, and also consonance, it would be a an excellent idea to give the students opportunities to exercise distinguishing between them. A good exercise to attain this is to have actually them first identify instances of each an equipment from a city in a city anthology, before challenging them to come up through original examples of each on their own. The students deserve to then usage the examples they have determined as models to create their own.


Meaning: Onomatopoeia refers to the procedure of producing words that sound prefer the very thing lock refer to. For countless students, the an initial introduction to onomatopoeia goes earlier to learning animal sounds together an infant. Indigenous such as Oink! Chirp! Woof! and also Meow! have the right to all be assumed of together onomatopoeic. Be sure to examine these facets of poetry v your younger students first.

Example: Aside from pet noises, the surname of sound themselves are often onomatopoeic, for example:




Exercise: Encourage students come coin new onomatopoeic words. Instruct them come sit in silence because that a couple of minutes. They should pay close fist to all the sound they deserve to hear in the environment. When the time is up, have the students conveniently jot down all the noises they heard. They must then come up with an onomatopoeic word for each of the different sounds. For example, if they might hear human being indistinctly talking in the corridor they can come up with words ‘rabbalabba’ to explain the sound castle heard. Together an extension, they could then try to usage their freshly-minted words in sentences.


Meaning: Rhyme describes the repetition of sound in a poem. Various varieties of rhyme room possible, yet in English we normally use the ax rhyme to describe the repeat of the last sounds in a line, or end rhyme. Letter are often used to signify a luck scheme. A new letter is ascribed to each of the different sounds. Because that example, in the following example the rhyme scheme is defined as ABAB.


The world along the sand

All turn and look one way.

They turn their ago on the land.

They look at the sea every day.

Exercise: Even despite a lot of of modern poetry no longer complies with a strict rhyme scheme, the is still useful for student to have the ability to recognize various rhyming fads in poetry. A good way because that them to gain an ext experience with rhyme schemes is to offer them duplicates of several different poems and also ask them to describe the rhyme system using letter e.g. ABAB, ABABCC etc. As soon as they have actually completed this task, they deserve to then be challenged to create a stanza or two of poetry employing every rhyme plan identified.


Meaning: Rhythm in poetry involves sound patterning. A lot of of classic poetry conforms come a systematic regularity the rhythm i m sorry is described as the poem’s meter. This requires the combine of stressed and also unstressed valuation to create a consistent beat pattern that runs transparent the poem. Each pattern of win is referred to as a foot. There room various feasible combinations of stressed and also unstressed syllables, or feet, and also these patterns have actually their own names to describe them. While the is difficult to explore every one of these in this article, we take a look at among the more common people below.


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day

Exercise: A useful way of tuning in students to meter is to have them note the stressed and unstressed syllables in a heat of poetry. The iambic pentameter is a great place to start. This sample is found in numerous of Shakespeare’s plays. It is likewise frequently supplied in love sonnets wherein its valuation is thought to reflect the beating that the person heart and also reinforce the idea the love come ‘from the heart’. Once students have come to be adept in ~ recognizing various meters and also rhythms, castle should have a go at composing in lock too.

Figurative / Connotative Language in Poetry


Meaning: Metaphors make comparisons between things by stating that one thing literally is other else. Metaphors are provided to bring clarity to ideas by developing connections. Often, metaphors disclose implicit similarities between two things or concepts.

Example: We can find lots of instances of metaphors in our day-to-day speech, for example:

She’s an old flame

Time is money

Life is a rollercoaster

Exercise: When students can comfortably identify metaphors in the poems that others, castle should shot their hand at producing their own metaphors. A an excellent place to start is by difficult them to transform some similes right into metaphors. Not just does this provide students an important practice in developing metaphors, it helps reinforce their expertise of the differences between metaphors and similes while giving them a frame to support their an initial attempts at developing metaphors themselves.


Meaning: Unlike metaphors the make to compare by saying one point is something else, similes job-related by speak something is comparable to other else. They commonly come in 2 forms. Those the make a comparison using ‘as’ and those that make a comparison utilizing ‘like’.


She is as strong as an ox

She sings prefer a nightingale

Exercise: As through the practice for metaphors, it’d be advantageous practice because that students to convert metaphors they recognize in poetry right into similes, reinforcing their understanding of both in the process.


Meaning: Personification is a particular kind of metaphor where a non-human point or idea is ascribed human features or abilities. This deserve to be in the form of a solitary phrase or line, or expanded in the type of a stanza or the whole poem.


The moon was shining sulkily,

Because she thought the sun

Had got no company to be there

After the day was done –

“It’s really rude the him,” she said,

“To come and also spoil the fun.”

Exercise: To help students practice distinguishing in between metaphors, similes, and personification, conference a perform of jumbled up examples of every from assorted poems. Students deserve to then sort these accordingly. When they have actually completed this, task them come come through an original instance of each.

See more: The Excretory System Helps The Respiratory System By, Anatomy Of The Respiratory System

The facets of poetry space many and also while the facets explored above represent the most essential of these, the is not an exhaustive list of every element. That takes lots of exposure for students to end up being comfortable recognizing each and confident employing these elements in their very own writing.

Take every opportunity to reinforce student knowledge of these elements. Poetic elements are regularly employed in genres outside of city such together in stories, advertising, and also song – rubbish no opportunity!