Language of poetry: Poetic techniques

Language of poetry: Poetic techniques

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Language of poetry: Poetic techniques

​​In a nutshell

Poetry is powered by language. The central point of a poem is amplified through the choice of language used and can be a great way of creating meaning.

Poetic devices and figurative language

There are various poetic devices and figurative language used in poetry to convey different meanings of words and to elicit ideas that are not literal interpretations of the words. Each poetic device changes the mood and tone of the poem whilst also adjusting the meaning of the poem.

Poetic device


Sonic devices (alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia)
Create mood and musicality in the poem.
Poetic diction (irony, contrast and symbolism)
Create interpretation and intrigue.
An explicit comparison that uses the words "like" and "as" to draw parallels.
An implicit comparison that states an object is like another.
The continuation of a phrase from one line to another.
The recurring use of a word or phrase to build focus and mood.
Human characteristics given to inanimate objects.


Words are ordered into meaningful units through syntax. Prose and fiction do not use the same syntax as poetry. To achieve specific literary effects, such as tone, mood or impact, you must adopt different syntax. It is possible to shift word order to achieve artistic effects, such as creating rhythm or melody in the lines, creating emphasis and intensifying connections between words.

Tone and mood

It is a key part of poetic language to create tone and the overall mood of the poem. The language of poetry is essential in creating and cultivating tone and mood. The language used can elevate the mood or twist the atmosphere of the poem. Different language choices change the rhythm of a poem and as such, begin to shift the tone of a poem.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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