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How to Use Alliteration: Examples & Techniques

By Gary R. Hess. Category: Poetry

There are many poetry techniques which are essential to many poets' writings. Whether you are an amateur or professional, it is important to understand them and know how to use them correctly. These techniques allow your readers to use their imagination and come up with the conclusion you wish them to.

One great poetry technique is alliteration. Alliteration helps writers show emphasis on one specific area of the poem and attract the reader's attention. The method to do this is described best as two or more words together with the same beginning sound. Here are a few examples:

  • Wagging, wiggling
  • Sounds simply sensational
  • Crackling creeks

This word play allows the poet to manipulate the way a reader views the line and stanza. It helps create additional emotion and thoughts they would otherwise not have. It can do anything from add humor to add excitement to simply putting emphasis on the line for later reference.

Many of the greatest poets throughout history have used alliteration to their great advantage. A good example is John Clare's "Autumn": "green grass", "fallow fields", "overbaked bread", "Hill-tops like hot iron". Each set of alliteration changes the mood. For example, "green grass" gives thoughts of happiness and growth, but "overbaked bread" brings thoughts of burnt, crispy and possible irritation. Clare was a master for his word choice and surely spent hours, days, weeks, and even months choosing the correct words to use in every instance.

These alliterations used by Clare and other poets throughout history have helped form their readers' senses and helped bring an overall new feeling to their poetry which they wouldn't have had otherwise.

Of course, many children's rhymes also use alliteration to great effect. In these, they help bring the child's attention to the writing by using humor and excitement. Many Mother Goose and Dr. Seuss poems do this exquisitely. A stinky and stupendous stickler could be quite hilarious in the right circumstance.

As a poet, you are given many great techniques to work with. Learn how to use them and use them whenever you feel they fit the needs of the reader and your writing. The more you know about the different styles and techniques within poetry the better poet you will become.

The best way to gain control of these techniques is by reading more about them and testing them within your writings. So go ahead, write a new people today and use alliteration!