Using Alliteration to Enhance Emotion in Poetry

Vivian Gilbert Zabel

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Poetry begs for emotion, in the wording by the poet and in the mind of the reader. Yet many wonder how to create emotion in their writing. One way to enhance emotion is to use poetic devices.

Poetic devices, when used with imaginative language, help create that needed emotion in poetry. Let's look at alliteration and see how its usage can aid create emotion.

"What in the world is alliteration?" the student of poetry asks. “It sounds like something that would make me itch or something. "

Not at all, but it might tickle your ears. Alliteration, generally, is the repetition of a beginning sound (a constanant beginning sound usually} that occurs close enough to each other to catch the eye and ear.

Little boy blue, come blow your horn from Mother Goose is an excellent example of alliteration, all those lovely b's close together.

"Fine and dandy, " the student asks, “but where is any emotion in that?"

Just give me time, and I'll get there. Ish, some people are so impatient.

Now if we take some alliteration and mix it together with language portraying the mood or emotion we want, voila!

Like gaudily wrapped gifts gathering dust in the back of my mind, memories tease me mercilessly.

The lines above invoke a sense of playfulness, maybe a bit of happiness, by using the words gaudily wrapped gifts and tease. But they also leave a lingering sense of sadness with the words gathering dust. Both emotions, though, are strengthened and joined with the use of alliteration: gaudily, gifts, gathering; mind, memories, me, mercilessly.

Let's look at some other examples.

Dull, drab day, you dump piles Of sorrow on seemingly somnolent life.

The emotion created by those two lines is depression or sadness. Again the alliteration makes the emotion stronger.

"Okay, I think I'm beginning to get the picture, " the student admits.

Then let's look at one more example, shall we?

Gaily, giggling girls cluster together as if birds tweetering on branches of trees.

Here we have happiness showing through the alliteration.

Alliteration is just one method, one device, that can be used to enhance emotion in our writing. We can read, learn, and practice until we have improved that imagery.

Vivian Gilbert Zabel taught English, composition, and creative writing for twenty-five years, honing her skills as she studied and taught. She is a author on Writers ( http://www.Writing.Com/ ), and her portfolio is http://www.Writing.Com/authors/vzabel . Her books, Hidden Lies and Other Stories and Walking the Earth, can be found through Barnes and Noble or


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