Do you know the elements of poetry?

Poetry has been part of learning the English language for many years. It allows us to appreciate how impactful the words can be in our lives. To really know and understand poetry, you should know the different elements of poetry.

A poet once defined poetry as language raised to the nth degree. It does not comply with conversational English though. Poems follow a specific pattern, and rules which makes it stand out.

So as a poet or reader, what exactly are the elements which we need to use to create poetry? Below are the different elements of poetry, and their uses. When used together, it creates a meaningful piece of art.

Well, we can give 7 elements of poetry you can practice with for you to become an effective writer.

Imagery

Try to close your eyes and imagine, how iridescent the sunsets is or the green mountain of the Alps. The vivid description makes us dive in and experience the experience, right? Imagery is important in poetry. It added flavor and color to your words. It gives layers and dimensions, the only thing that will make your poetry powerful and enticing.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,−
He made them every one:

All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Alexander

Meter

If the skeleton gives structure to our body whilst the meter gives structure to a poem. Poetry is measured using a meter.  You can find this in poems like a sonnet, haiku, an ode. The basic structure should be emphasized in every line to remain cohesive and consistent.  Every part of the poetry is made of subunits where each unit plays a role to be conveyed to the reader. To measure meter, we count how many syllables there are in one line.

Example:

Come | live | with| me| and| be| my| love, |- 8 syllables
And| we| will | all | the | plea|sures| prove|, – 8 syllables
That| Val | leys|, groves|, hills|, and| fields,|- 7 syllables
Woods|, or| ste|epy| moun|tain| yields.|- 7 syllables
              -The Passionate Shepherd to His Love By Christopher Marlowe

Rhythm

Imagine a ballet dancer without her rhythm; it’s a disaster, right?  Same goes for poetry without its rhythm. Rhythm allows the piece flows freely and it is the stressed and unstressed beat of the piece. Rhythm can be present in the number of lines in a verse, the number of syllables in the line, and the arrangement of syllables. Reading the poem out loud helps us better understand the words written and the emotions the writer is trying to resonate with the reader or listener.

Rhyme

We should admit that we all had our fair share of fun when we were reciting our nursery rhymes, right? Rhyme really has this peculiar impact every time we hear those identical sounds. Anyways, rhyme is the repetition of the sound of the last word of the line of a poem or a song. Rhyming may either have the structure or it may not. For example, the last word for the 4 lines of the poem has rhyme or just ever the second line has the matching rhyme. It all really depends upon you. Rhyming words are what constitute rhyme. However, a poetry style in which there is no rhyme present is in free verse.

Example:

They put me in the oven to bake.
Me, a deprived and miserable cake.
Feeling the heat, I started to bubble.
Watching the others, I knew I was in trouble.

-The Life of a Cupcake by Shelby Greer

Symbolism

A poem often shows emotions, thoughts, and ideas using symbols, this is a technique called symbolism. A symbol can be a representation of anything and makes the reader take a systematic approach which helps him/her look at things in a different aspect. For example, a poet which mentions that word dove can be a symbol of peace, holiness, or Godliness.

Theme

It’s necessary for every writer to know how the poem will flow. Thus, they create a theme for the piece. It is important to have the theme because it will be the main idea or central idea of your literary work. The theme of the poem talks about the central idea, the thought behind what the poet wants to convey. A theme can be anything from a description about a person or thing, a thought or even a story. In short a theme stands for whatever the poem is about.

Friendship is
No fragile human bond.
Friendship is
A strong oneness-bridge.

– Sri Chinmoy (3) “the poem’s theme is friendship.”

Note that the elements of poetry mentioned here are based on tradition. As time progresses, so does language. Not all poems written now has all these, but it can be a mixture of one up to three elements. Others do not even adhere to rules anymore, thus creating free verses. So, enjoy writing poetry while you can. Don’t mind the rules, just play with words.

Like what you’ve read? Let us know in the comments below. For other topics, go to Elements of Writing Fiction and Their Story to Tell