Elements of Poems
The definition of "elements of poetry" is "a set of instruments used to create a poem." The usages of many of these elements began thousands of years ago. Archeologists have shown that our ancestors used many of these elements within their ancient oral story. They help bring imagery and emotion to poetry, stories, and dramas.
With over 55 poetry forms, it's essential for writers to use the many varieties of elements. Here is a list used within poems to help bring emotion, meaning, and imagination to the reader.
- Two or more words which have the same initial sound. The alliteration may be separated by prepositions. Alliteration example: Pretty princess. Busy as a bee. Example of usage in a poem: William Blake's "The Tiger".
- A partial rhyme which has the same internal vowel sounds amongst different words. Assonance example: The tundra left the man hungry for buns
- A comparison which does not use the words like or as. Metaphor example: "Life is a journey." Example of usage in a poem: Gary R. Hess's "Seasons".
- Words that sound like their meaning. Onomatopoeia examples: buzz, moo, pow, bang. Example of usage in a poem: William Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper".
- The repetition of the same word throughout the poem to emphasize significance.
- The repetition of sounds within different words, either end sound, middle or beginning. Rhyme example: loose goose. Example of usage in a poem: Oliver Wendell Holmes's "Old Ironsides".
- The flow of words within each meter and stanza. Rhythm example: Iambic pentameter. Example of usage in a poem: Shakespeare's "Sonnet 116".
- A comparison using the words like or as. Simile example: Life is like a box of chocolates. Example of usage in a poem: Amy Lowell's "A Decade".
- The way the poem is written. Free-style, ballad, haiku, etc. Includes length of meters, number of stanzas along with rhyme techniques and rhythm.
- Something that represents something else through association, resemblance or convention.
- The message, point of view and idea of the poem.
In the 20th and 21st century, poets have tried to come up with new ways of adding elements. Nonetheless, many of these versions still stem from some of the older, tried and true elements.