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Articles > Poetry > How to Use Poetry Techniques and Styles

How to Use Techniques and Styles in Poems

By Gary R. Hess. Category: Poetry

The style of writing poetry differs from person to person--long or short meters, three or four lines to a stanza. But the great thing is, no matter how a poem is written, it still holds great emotion. Some common techniques used in poetry are onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance, rhyming, simile and metaphor.


Onomatopoeia is one of the easiest to learn and use (but not spell). The definition of onomatopoeia is a word imitating a sound. For example; 'buzz', 'moo' and 'beep'. This can be used in a variety of ways giving the reader a 'hands on' feel. Onomatopoeia is a great way to have the user experience one of the senses often overlooked in poetry: sound. Mother Goose often uses onomatopeia.


Another technique that you might be familiar with is alliteration. This procedure is used by starting three or more words with the same sound. An example of this would be 'The crazy crackling crops.' The three words don't have to have the exact same beginning to have this effect. Alliteration is a great tool to use for descriptions along with raising the readers attention about a specific subject--great for dark and horror writings. Robert Burns's "Mary Morison" is a perfect example of alliteration put to good use.


The next style is assonance. It is defined as a repetition of vowel sounds within syllables with changing consonants. This is used in many different circumstances. One would be 'tilting at windmills.' Notice the vowels within each syllable sound the same.


Rhyming is probably the most well-known technique used. However unlike popular belief, it does not need to be within a poem to make it a poem. It is what it is.. a technique. It is however, a popular way to establish flow within writing. There are many types of rhyme schemes and you can use them all.


As for similes, they are an expression that compares one thing to another. A paradigm of this would be 'The milk tasted like pickles.' This method is used in all forms of poetry and generally has the words 'like' or 'as.' It may be used to help your readers better identify with characteristics of objects or circumstances. John Donne's "For Whom the Bell Tolls".


A metaphor is a word or phrase used one way to mean another. Metaphors are sometimes hard to spot and take some thinking to figure out, but they give writers more power to express their thoughts about a certain situation. One famous case where a metaphor is used is within 'The Raven' by Edgar Allen Poe. In fact, not only is it found within the story, the story itself is a metaphor of memory and the constant reminder of the narrator's loss.

These techniques are seen throughout history within both famous and amateur poems alike. To have a full grasp of poetry onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance, rhyming, simile and metaphor should be words you know and use. Nonetheless, these aren't something which need to be used in your writing. Write what you love and write often.

Other styles and techniques commonly used are: dada, no capitalization, lack of punctuation, misspelling of words, use of slang, as well as many others. The number is endless.

To view a more comprehensive definition list, go here: Poetry Dictionary