Think you’re a poetry expert? If you regularly write poetry, you’re probably well aware of the many literary devices available to be used in your poems to really get your message across. Literary devices make your writing clearer and more descriptive and effectively make your poetry better. But even if you regularly use literary devices in your own poetry, you might not always remember what they’re called. You may also not be able to recognize them in other poems! Take a look at the following examples of poems and see if you can match the literary device being used to the stanzas quoted.
Match the literary device being used in the bolded text to the term.
- “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
- “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk
- “Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio” by Carl Sandberg
It’s a jazz affair, drum crashes and cornet razzes.
The trombone pony neighs and the tuba jackass snorts.
The banjo tickles and titters too awful.
- “Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
- “The Sun Rising” by John Donne
She’s all states, and all princes, I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honor’s mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world’s contracted thus.
- Onomatopoeia, the use of words which sound like what they mean
- Simile, a comparison between two things which are essentially dissimilar using words such as “like,” or “as”
- Rhyme, the correspondence of sound between words or the endings of words
- Metaphor, a figure of speech which makes an implicit, implied or hidden comparison between two things without using “like” or “as”
- Alliteration, the repetition of initial consonant sounds
How did you do? Did you get any ideas of how to use literary devices in your own poetry? Go ahead and take a stab at it! If you like what you write, consider submitting it to our poetry contest and show your work to the world!