Poetic Devices With Examples | Definitions, Uses, Different Types, and Reasons of Poetic Devices

Poetic Devices Meaning: What are poetic devices? Poetic devices are colloquially known as literary devices which are used in the writing of poetry. Most of the poems are created with the help of these poetic devices along with other structural, grammatical, rhythmic, metrical, verbal, and visual elements. These poetic devices are usually used to create a unique rhythm in the lines of the poetry and also to enhance the true meaning of the poem.

Often it is visible that due to the use of these devices, the mood or the feelings that the poet wants to express in the poem is further intensified to another level altogether. For any poetry to become a masterpiece, what is most important is to bring about lucidity in the tone and pattern of writing. Be it a free verse type of poetry or a sonnet, to bring out the best essence of poetry writing, one has to make sure the writing is soothing and rhythmic.

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The good news is that with the help of simple poetic devices, one can easily make writing more pragmatic. It is a known fact that any kind of craft demands serious attention and skilled craftsmanship. The case is just the same for poetry writing, as well. For making the poem more expressive, it is important to add further flavour and texture to the technique of writing. The use of poetic devices is a source of adding these flavours and textures to bring out a better sense of expression through one’s poetry.

What are Poetic Devices? All About Poetic Forms and Devices

Poetic devices are a form of literary devices which are used in poetry. By using the different types of poetic devices, poetry can be created. The elements that are used in poetry are such as structural, grammatical, rhythmic, metrical, verbal, and visual elements. These poetic devices are the essential tools applied by poets to create rhythm, enhance a poem’s meaning, or intensify a mood or feeling represented in the poem.

For better knowledge about poetic devices continue your read and get deeper insights on types of poetic forms and devices and why we use them in creating a poem.

Why is it Essential to Use Poetic Devices?

Although the use of any poetic device is optional, it is considered to be very important because these poetic devices are used to intensify the emotion that the writer tries to bring about in the poem. Besides this, these poetic devices are also responsible for adding an exciting rhythm to the poem, which in turn makes the poem more meaningful.

When these poetic devices are used in an interesting manner, they tend to add a visible sense of beauty to the poems. These devices also intensify the true meaning of the poems by boosting the style of writing and making it more dramatic and intimidating. The use of these devices brings out the emotions hidden in the poem in the best manner, which often leaves the reader in a sheer sense of mesmerization.

Types of Poetic Devices

Important Reasons for Using Poetic Devices

  • Poetic devices are known to add beautiful rhythm and tone to the writing style of poetry. This involves the use of rhyming words and interesting sound effects, among others.
  • These poetic devices are also known to boost the ideas and imagery present in the poems. This involves the use of similes, metaphors and other natural imagery expressing techniques, among others.
  • Poetic devices are also responsible for improving or intensifying all the feelings and emotions which the writer wants to express through the poem. It boosts the all-over essence of the poem. This involves the use of devices like personification and irony, among others.
  • Any kind of poem consisting of any kind of theme becomes more meaningful when some or the other poetic device is used to make the wordplay more enjoyable. This process includes the use of different poetic devices such as similes, metaphors, allusions, among others.
  • Such poetic devices also act as a guideline for adding structural patterns to the style of writing poetry. These devices also help to derive the form of the poem, which might either be a sonnet or a ballad or any other type of poetry.

Different Types of Poetic Devices

Poetic devices can be of three different types depending on the kind of words that are being used. Each of these poetic devices can be used for different purposes to bring out the best in a poem. The three different types of poetic devices are as followers:-

  • Poetic Devices Based On The Sound Of Words: Such poetic devices depend completely upon the sounds of the words that are being used. Some examples of this type of poetic device are alliteration, assonance, consonance, and cacophony, among others.
  • Poetic Devices Based On The Meaning Of The Words: Such poetic devices completely depend upon the meanings of the words which are being used by the poet in the poem. Some examples of this kind of poetic device are allegory, allusion, irony, and metaphor, among others.
  • Poetic Devices Based On The Arrangements Of The Words: Such poetic devices are related more to the structure of the poem rather than the tone or the style. They completely depend upon the arrangement pattern of the words used by the poet in the poem. Examples of these kinds of devices are verses and rhyme schemes.

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20 Poetic Devices You Should Know!

The list of the 20 most commonly used Poetic Devices is here. Interested persons can check & try these interesting poetic devices with examples in English literature:

  1. Alliteration
  2. Allusion
  3. Assonancer
  4. Consonance
  5. Irony
  6. Metaphor
  7. Similes
  8. Ode
  9. Repetition
  10. Rhyme
  11. Onomatopoeia
  12. Stanzas
  13. Word Play
  14. Calligram
  15. Imagery
  16. Personification
  17. Refrain
  18. Kenning
  19. Couplets
  20. Rhythm

Poetic Devices Based on the Sound of Words

10 Poetic Devices With Examples are as follows:


Alliteration is referred to the multiple repetitions of a consonant which happens to be the first letter of multiple words. This repetition takes place multiple times in close syllables within the same group of words. This technique is actually used by the poet to guide the reader’s attention towards a single part of the text. This technique also adds a sense of rhythm to the writing as the same sound is repeated over and over again to represent a particular connotation.


  • Fast and Furious
  • Kim’s kid kept kicking like crazy
  • The woods are lovely dark, and deep
  • Andrew patted the pony
  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
  • Live and let Live


Assonance refers to the repetitive sound of a vowel that is present in words in the same sentences. These words might either be together or near to each other. This poetic device basically refers to the sounds that are accented or stressed more in a particular line. This device is also used to focus the mind of the reader on a particular area of the text. This device stresses more on a particular feeling or an expression making it stand out among other parts of a poetry.


  • The cat is out of the bag
  • Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite
  • Winner winner chicken dinner
  • Motion of the ocean
  • That solitude which suits abstruser musings
  • On a pound round cloud in white high night

Consonance – Consonance as a poetic device is very similar to assonance. In assonance, the vowel sound is repetitive, whereas, in consonance, the consonant’s sound is repetitive. These consonants are a part of words that are together are a part of the same whole sentence. In this case, the syllables are known as the consonants and are placed at the end of each word that is being used. Like most of the other poetic devices, which are based on sound, the purpose of consonance is also to focus the attention on the reader in a particular area or segment of the text.


  • Boats into the past
  • Cool Soul
  • He struck a streak of bad luck
  • When Billie looked at the trailer, she smiled and laughed

Cacophony – Cacophony is a very interesting poetic device that is known to create a state of chaos or a sense of unpleasantness in the mind of the readers. It refers to the use of an unmusical series of weird and unpleasant sounds, which actually stands for a disorder or discomfort. This type of poetic device is usually used by the poet to bring about the essence of discomfort or a discordant situation in the minds of the readers. This technique works in such a way that it actually creates a sense of unpleasantness in the reader’s mind. The most important part of using this technique is to use the correct kind of words.


  • “I detest war because the cause of war is always trivial.”
  • “Where spouting pillars spoor the evening sky.”
  • “Of dynamos, where hearing’s leash is strummed…”

Euphony – The word euphony has been derived from the Greek word called euphonious, which in normal terms means sweet voice. Thus euphony is a poetic device that is usually used to bring about a very sweet and melodious sound effect to the style of writing. This device tends to give a pleasing and soothing effect to the readers by using repetitive sounds of vowels and smooth consonants. Most of the time this poetic device is used with other poetic devices like rhyme, assonance or alliteration to create a better and more soothing effect on the writing style. This device is also known to bring about a peaceful and pleasant feel in any piece of literary work and convey the expression or message more efficiently.


  • Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
  • Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
  • Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.
  • Courage!’ he said, and pointed towards the land,
  • ‘This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon.’

Rhyme – Rhyme is an interesting and fun technique that refers to the use of words which has similar sound effects at the end of each sentence. This technique is known to bring about a sense of musicality to the poems. The use of this poetic device is known to differentiate poetry from prose and is known to create a pleasing effect in the poem. Rhyming sentences actually makes it easier for people to learn the poems swiftly and makes the poems much more fun and enjoyable.


  • Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

  • Baa Baa black sheep, have you any wool?

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!

  • Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow;

And everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.

Uses of Poetic Devices

Poetic Devices Based on the Meanings of Words

Allegory – Allegory is a very effective poetic device that actually represents the abstract ideas that the poet wants to put forward in the form of characters, events, and figures. This particular device is not restricted to poetry but can be used in any part of prose as well. Allegory’s fundamental work is to narrate a story or express the essence of the plot. In the case of poetry, it helps to narrate the idea on which the entire plot is based. Most of the time, the primary idea behind using an allegory to put forward a moral lesson.


  • The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  • The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser

Allusion – Allusion primarily refers to indirect references made in a piece of literary work. These references might include a reference to a particular place, person, or idea. These ideas might be either political or historical, and cultural. An allusion is known to be a very brief reference and does not discuss anything with proper details. It might be compared to a passing comment; it touches the idea but does not explain it. When such allusions are used, the reader is expected to understand the idea with the knowledge they have.


  • “Don’t act like a Romeo in front of her.” – Here the word “Romeo” is a reference to one of Shakespeare’s famous characters from Romeo and Juliet. The reader is expected to know and understand this fact without any explanation. Here “Romeo” also refers to a compassionate lover as it was in Shakespeare’s work.
  • “This place is like a garden of Eden.” Here the garden of Eden refers to the garden of God in Genesis. The reader is again expected to know and understand this fact without any explanation.

Irony – Irony is a very interesting poetic device that is used to represent a contradictory situation. Such kinds of situations are expected to end in one manner but actually ends up in some other manner. Irony is known to make the difference between reality and appearance clearer to the readers. An Irony is used to bring about a more defined style of writing in the poem which in turn further develops the reader’s interest. The use of this poetic device intrigues the reader’s mind and compels them to imagine and assume the hidden meaning.


  • Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

Metaphor – A Metaphor primarily refers to a comparison in between two very unlikely things. This device is used to bring about the resemblance between two things that are known to be completely different from each other. However, the comparison stated in such cases is absolutely direct and is not hidden, and does not need to be assumed. But such comparisons are very different from a simile.


  • If music be the food of love, play on.
  • Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.
  • Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.
  • Hope is the thing with feathers.

Oxymoron – Oxymoron basically refers to the use of two contradictory ideas which are put together one beside the other or as a part of a sentence to create an interesting effect. These types of devices make the writing more interesting and engaging.


  • Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,
  • That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
  • Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Personification – Personification is another very interesting poetic device that is used to give an animal, an idea or a particular thing a human-like characteristic. When any non-human object is defined as a human being, the entire concept is referred to as personification. This device makes any writing very impactful and interesting.


  • The stars danced playfully in the moonlit sky.
  • The run-down house appeared depressed.
  • The first rays of morning tiptoed through the meadow.
  • She did not realize that opportunity was knocking at her door.
  • He did not realize that his last chance was walking out the door.
  • The bees played hide and seek with the flowers as they buzzed from one to another.

Simile – A simile refers to different types of direct comparisons which are made in literary texts. It puts forward the difference between two things that have no similarity with each other. Words like “like” or “as” are used to draw comparisons.


  • During the house fire, my Dad was as brave as a lion.
  • Sunday is a cleaning day. By the time we’re done, the house is as clean as a whistle.
  • That teacher was as dull as dishwater.
  • I think my grandfather is as old as these hills!
  • This house of cards is as sturdy as an oak.
  • My best friend sings like an angel.
  • After I received that “A” on my spelling test, I thought I might soar like an eagle.
  • Gah! Her voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard!
  • In our eighth-grade pageant, we shone like stars.

Poetic Devices Based on Arrangements of Words

These types of poetic devices can be divided into two types. The first type is verse. Verse stands for either a single line of a poem or a specific paragraph, or a stanza. The verse can be further divided into two types, namely free verse and blank verse. A free verse refers to a style of writing that does not have a set manner. The lines in such verses are not rhythmic or rhyming. Whereas a blank verse also does not offer any rhyming pattern but has the use of iambic pentameter.

A Rhyme Scheme is known to add a rhyming effect to a poem by utilization of words that almost sound similar. When this device is added to poetry, it sounds more musical and rhythmic. There are many different types of verses that can be used. Some of them are alternate rhyme, ballade, monorhyme, couplet, triplet, enclosed rhyme, terza rima rhyme scheme, limerick and villanelle, and Keats odes rhyme scheme.

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Conclusion on Poetic Devices with Examples in English Literature

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