Goats, gossip, hats and hulla-hoops

What is it about the use of simple poetic techniques that appeal so much to a reader? Is it the rhythmic simplicity that reminds us of our past oral traditions? It might be as storytellers, bards, and oral lore-keepers often learnt their stories in a ballad/poetic form that helped ensure they remembered the story based not only on narrative progression, but also on the rhythmic systems of the form. Could it then be memory based? Many studies cite the use of mnemonic devices to help memorise details – so are we already pre-designed to engage mentally with rhythmic sounds? Or is it the nostalgic appeal of childhood? A recollection of nursery rhymes and foolish riddles that coloured our childhood books and memories, perhaps?

Alliteration is only one such commonly used poetic device. Many are exercised in today’s literature for children and adults alike. We still see the use of imagery, allegories, metaphors, similes, personification, and so much more. So how about a discussion of these simple, yet effective poetic devices and what they can add to a developing writer’s repertoire.

  • A fascinating topic suggestion. What immediately leapt into my mind upon reading this is the oral tradition of story telling, still in use amongst the so-called 'primitive' peoples of the world. An oral tradition helps to discipline and train the mind, as well as being a memory aid. I often try to find a rhythm in the lines I learn for a role as it helps to get into the mindset of the character I play. I'm also fascinated by the Australian Aboriginal tradition of 'singing' their way across a landscape - the song acts as both a representation of a physical realm and the metaphysical realm - and since I've never heard of an Aborigine getting lost in the outback then it obviously works! – Amyus 5 years ago

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