Abby has taught elementary special education and has her master's degree in this area.
Do you hear the word 'poetry' and cringe? Does it seem like poems are written in a different language? Don't worry! This lesson will teach you about the most commonly used terms in poetry. With this knowledge you will be a poetry pro in no time!
Let's learn about five important techniques poets use: personification, hyberbole, alliteration, similes, and metaphors. We'll explore definitions and look at specific examples of each.
The first term we'll be learning about is personification. This is when you give human characteristics to things that are not human. You can remember this because PERSONification gives objects qualities of a PERSON. For example, 'the flag was waving in the wind.' Flags can't really wave! This is why it is personification. Here's another example: 'the alarm clock screamed at me to wake up.' Can you spot the personification in that statement?
Another important poetry term that you will need to know is hyperbole (hi-per-bol-ee). A hyperbole is a big exaggeration. Saying 'math class takes forever' is an example of this, because we know it doesn't actually take forever (even if it might seem long!). Have you ever heard someone say, 'I could eat a million pieces of pizza'? The person might be really hungry, but can't actually eat a million pieces, so this is another example of hyperbole.
Alliteration is when you hear the same sound at the beginning of two or more words. 'Baby Ben beats the bongo' is an example, since you hear the 'b' sound at the beginning of four of the words. Another alliteration would be 'Sally sells seashells by the seashore.' Go ahead and try to come up with your own alliteration, they're fun!
Similes and Metaphors
Finally, poetry uses a lot of similes and metaphors. Both of these are comparisons of two things. However, similes use the words 'like' or 'as' to compare, and metaphors do not. An example of a simile is 'he was as fast as a cheetah.' It uses the word 'as' to compare.
An example of a metaphor would be 'she was a beautiful rose.' It compares a girl to a rose, but does not use the words 'like' or 'as.' You can actually take the same comparison and make it either a simile or metaphor. 'The storm was fierce like a lion' is an example of simile, but if you said 'the storm was a fierce lion,' that is a metaphor!
In this lesson, we learned about a few key poetry terms.
Here is a summary:
Personification: giving human characteristics to things that are not human
Hyperbole: big exaggeration
Alliteration: using the same beginning sound in two or more words
Simile: a comparison of two things using 'like' or 'as'
Metaphor: a comparison of two things without using 'like' or 'as'
With this knowledge and these examples you will be able to better understand and write poems! There are also many other terms you will learn, but these give you the perfect foundation to build your poetry skills!
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