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Poetry . Figures of Speech. Figures of Speech. Figures of speech are a special language tools use by poets and other writer to make their writing more colorful. The various figured of speech can add drama, detail, and depth to poetry. Some commonly used figures of speech are:

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Figures of Speech

figures of speech
Figures of Speech

Figures of speech are a special language tools use by poets and other writer to make their writing more colorful. The various figured of speech can add drama, detail, and depth to poetry.

Some commonly used figures of speech are:

Alliteration Simile

Assonance Metaphor

Consonance Imagery

Onomatopoeia Hyperbole



The repetition of beginning consonant sounds in two or more words or syllables is called alliteration:

setting sun tiny tot beautifully blue

Words don’t necessarily have to begin with the same letter to sound alike. Carrot and cereal both begin with “C”, but the sound is not the same. Kitty and carrot, pheasant and fish, new, knew and gnu are alliterative because even though they start with different letters they repeat the same sound.

  • Shelly Sherman shivered in a sheer, short shirt
  • Vicky Vinc viewed a very valuable vase.
  • Yolanda Yvonne Yarger yodeled up yonder yesterday.
  • Elmer Elwood eluded eleven elderly elephants.
alliteration example
Alliteration example

Betty Baker bought some butter,"But," said she, "this butter's bitter.If I put it in my batter,It will make my batter bitter."

assonance and consonance
Assonance and Consonance

Assonance is the repetition of a vowel sound in two or more words or syllables:

Door and four feed and read can and pan

Lou’s two new cows do choose to use

A “Moo moo” mood to view Hugh’s ewes.

In the last example, did you notice that only two words (“a” and “cow” ) do not contain the “oo” sound?

assonance and consonance7
Assonance and Consonance

Consonance is the repetition of a consonant sound in two or more words or syllables:

When flitting flies flutter fast

Toad flicks a lick as they fly past.

Assonance and consonance can also be combined in a poem:

Pelicans with scooping skills

Dive for fish to fill their bills.


Onomatopoeia uses words that imitate the sounds they describe. Buzz, for example, sound very much like the noise a bee makes. Many animal sounds are onomatopoeias.

Plonk, stomp, creak, squeak, roar, etc….







Hyperbole is a way of describing something by exaggerating.

A hyperbole overstates the truth to make it more colorful and forceful and to express strong feeling. Imagination plays a big part in hyperbole. The exaggeration goes beyond the natural or real and is so obvious that you know it can’t be true.

Everyone in the world likes ice cream

The lion had a roar that would flatten all the trees in the jungle.

I felt so low that I could crawl under the belly of the worm.

Using hyperboles in a poem can have a dramatic effect:

Flapping its wings fiercely

An eagle conquered the sky.

-Trang Ngo


A poet uses similes and metaphors to describe two different things in a way that makes them seem equal or similar.

A simile compares two things by using the words “as”, “like” “ as if” “seems” and “appears”

My legs feel like frozen fish sticks

Fresh as a daisy

Pretty as a picture

simile example
Simile - example

Linesin a new notebookrun, even and fine,like telephone wiresacross a snowy landscape.

With wet, black strokesthe alphabet settles between them,comfortable as a flock of crows.

~Judith Thurman~

the book emily dickinson
“The Book” Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a bookTo take us lands away,Nor any coursers like a pageOf prancing poetry.This traverse may the poorest takeWithout oppress of toll;How frugal is the chariotThat bears a human soul!


1) Define the following terms:

Frigate toll

Coursers frugal

Traverse chariot


2) In two paragraphs, discuss what is being compared in this poem.

3) What else could Emily Dickinson used to compare and describe “the book”?

4) How do you think Emily Dickinson feels about books? What point is she trying to get across to the reader?

“The Book”

~Emily Dickinson~

There is no frigate like a book

To take us lands away,

Nor any coursers like a page

of prancing poetry.

This traverse may the poorest

take without oppress of toll;

How frugal is the chariot

That bears a human soul!

assignment 2
Assignment #2

Read the poem “Willow and Gingko”

  • Create a list of all of the comparisons made in this poem.
  • Describe, in your own words, how the author views the willow and the gingko.
  • What is the authors opinion of these two trees?
  • Chose 2 objects that can be compared/contrasted and write a simile poem of your own. You must include at least 4 comparisons.

A metaphor compares two things by stating or implying that one thing actually is the other.

The sun is a golden ball rolling around in a sky blue bowl.

Robert Burns wrote: my love is like a red, red, rose.

metaphor example
Metaphor - example

Hold fast to dreamsFor if dreams dieLife is a broken-winged birdThat cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreamsFor if dreams goLife is a barren fieldFrozen with snow.

~Langston Hughs~


Personification gives human qualities, feelings, action or characteristics to inanimate (non-living) objects.

When sun goes homebehind the trees,and locks her shutters tight—

then stars come outwith silver keysto open up the night.

~Norma Farber

Maple blush so red in fall

‘Cause soon they’ll have

No clothes at all!

The tree clawed at John with its bony fingers.

The friendly eye of the streetlight watched over me until I was safe.


As the sun

comes out, she

glows upon us.

I try to find

somewhere cool,

but always see

her right behind me.

She loves herself

and when she’s bored

She’ll paint the sky

And cal it sunset.

Before she says goodbye.


Imagery involves one or more of your five senses. An author uses a word or phrase to stimulate your memory of those senses. These memories can be positive or negative which will contribute to the mood of the poem.

imagery example
Imagery Example

Cheetah Run

Swift as the wind,

Running with grace,

As his slender body

Breaks the wind like an arrow in flight

Pounding the earth with feet that never seem to touch the ground,

Eyes looking straight, never moving

A face of solid stone

Yellow color and black spots blurring with each movement,

Never breaking the rhythm of the run,

Always running with grace.