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Pictures with words. Poetry techniques and tools . Figurative Language or Figures of Speech. Simile – A comparison of two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”. Exs. The wind roared like a lion. “How dreary to be Somebody, How public, like a Frog!”

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pictures with words

Pictures with words

Poetry techniques

and tools

figurative language or figures of speech
Figurative Language or Figures of Speech
  • Simile – A comparison of two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”.
    • Exs. The wind roared like a lion.
      • “How dreary to be Somebody,

How public, like a Frog!”

(Emily Dickinson, “I’m Nobody”)

more figurativ e language great in poems
More Figurativ e Language – great in poems
  • Personification – Giving human qualities to nonhuman things.
  • Ex. - Loo-Wit…”spits her black tobacco any which way, stretching full length from her bumpy bed.”
  • (Describes the volcano in “Loo-Wit”, by Wendy Rose.)
figurative language personification
Figurative Language Personification
  • Another poetic use of personification:
  • Ex. – “The stars overhead were dancing heel and toe.” (“The Cremation of Sam McGee, by Robert Service)
figurative language
Figurative Language
  • Metaphor – Comparing two unlike things by stating that one is the other.
  • Ex. He is a a bull in a china shop!
figurative language more metaphors
Figurative Language-more metaphors!
  • “The road was a ribbon of moonlight.”
  • “When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.”
  • (from “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes)
figurative language idioms
Figurative Language Idioms
  • Idioms – phrases that have meaning different from the meaning of their separate words.
  • Ex. – She passed the test by the skin of her teeth.
  • He got off on the wrong foot with the principal.
figurative language more idioms
Figurative Language-more idioms

Mike was ahead of his class in

math by a mile. Only in spelling was

he in hot water.

But, he stuck to his guns, and

studied very hard. Finally, he could

see a light at the end of the tunnel.

sounds of poetry music to the ear
Sounds of Poetry,music to the ear!
  • Alliteration – The repetition of initial consonant sounds.
  • Ex. – Peter picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • Ex. – “The rusty spigot sputters… spatters, a smattering of drops.”

(From “Onomatopoeia” by Eve Merriam)

  • Onomatopoeia – Sound effects words– they imitate sounds.
  • Exs. – The owl screeched.
  • Snakes hiss.
  • The squeak of the rusty hinge…
  • Rhyme – Repetition of sounds at the ends of words.
  • Exs. - Say…way
  • Bold…told
  • Sing…ring

“Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout

Would not take the garbage out!

She’d scour the pots and scrape the pans,

Candy the yams and spice the hams,

And though her daddy would scream and shout,

She simply would not take the garbage out!”

(From “Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout

Would Not Take the Garbage Out” by

Shel Silverstein)


Rhythm – The patterns of beats, or stresses, in spoken language.

Read, “Martin Luther King” on the next slide.

How many beats, or syllables, are in each line?

martin luther king by raymond richard patterson
Martin Luther Kingby Raymond Richard Patterson

“He came upon an age He taught this suffering Earth

Beset by grief, by rage- The measure of man’s worth.

His love so deep, so wide, He showed what man can be

He could not turn aside. Before death sets him free.

His passion so profound,

He would not turn around.

Did you count 6 beats in each line? That gives the poem a regular rhythm, like a drumbeat.

  • The poems in this unit are from the2000 edition of Prentice Hall Literature, Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes, Bronze Level. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Publishers.