What Is Pattern In Poetry

Poetry has been around since the dawn of civilization, yet its essential power and beauty continues to captivate readers of all ages. Of all the creative writing forms, poetry is perhaps one of the most revered, with its beautiful sentences and rhythm that has been crafted over centuries of experimentation and practice. As such, an essential part of understanding poetry is appreciating the patterns which form its foundation.

At its most basic, patterns in poetry affect factors such as the flow and sound of the poem. Through its use of metrical feet, rhyme, syllabic structure, and typographical layout, a poem’s meter can be advantageously called upon to enhance the overall effect on the reader. For example, it has been found that iambic pentameter—a pattern of five iambs composed of one unstressed and one stressed syllable—is particularly effective in creating the emotional connections needed to spark a reaction from the reader.

In addition to its role in conveying emotion and sentiment, the pattern of a poem is also essential to its efficient communication. Unlike prose, which is typically written in a linear fashion, poems employ a number of metrics that can be used to compress and simplify information. In some cases, this “pattern-ization” can be used to convey two or more ideas in a shorter amount of space, which is invaluable in a work which is often restricted by its format.

The patterns of a poem can also help to transform it into a form that is more accessible to readers by evoking a certain atmosphere. This essential effect can be used to heighten the underlying meaning of a poem, allowing the writer to convey a message that speaks directly to their readers. By using musical word combinations and particular combinations of punctuation, such as caesura and alliteration, a writer can make their poem an exercise in artistic craftsmanship.

Understanding the patterns of poetry is essential for any aspiring writer who wishes to expand their craft. Through its use of timings, syllable counts, and rhyme schemes, poets can successfully control the overall impact of their work, allowing the poem to be seen in its clearest, most effective form.


Rhythm plays an important role in all types of poetry, with certain poems relying on a particular rhythm to be successful. Metrical structures such as iambic pentameter and dactylic hexameter are two of the most commonly used meters in poetry, and can be used to great effect to enhance the impact of the poem.

Rhythm in poetry can also be used to create a sense of unity, allowing the words to flow together in ways that would be arduous in prose. For example, by matching the poem’s rhythm to the underlying message, a poet can emphasize particular points and make them more meaningful to the reader.

Finally, rhyme and meter can also be used to create atmosphere, as rhythms have been found to have a strong emotional impact on the listener. By utilizing sound emphases, reverberation and repetition, a poet can effectively transport the reader to another world, allowing them to experience the true power of the poem.


Syntax refers to the arrangement of words within a sentence, and is a crucial component of all forms of writing, including poetry. By playing with the syntax of a poem, a poet can draw attention to certain points and ensure that their meaning is understood by their audience. For example, they can revise inadequate or ambiguous phrases in order to clearly convey their intentions.

In addition to revising the language, the syntax of a poem can also be altered in order to control the effect on the reader. This can be done through the repetition of words and phrases, the use of metaphors and symbols, and the construction of elaborate superstructures that hold together the poem as a whole.

Finally, the syntax of a poem can be used to communicate a deeper message through the use of symbolic language. By using words metaphorically and alluding to ideas and concepts, a poet can effectively transport a message to their readers without explicitly spelling it out.

Word Play and Soundscapes

Wordplay is an essential component of poetry, and can be utilized to great effect to enhance its effectiveness. Many great poets, such as William Shakespeare and John Donne, utilized wordplay to great effect and in order to draw attention to their message. By experimenting with phonetics, puns, and double entendres, a poet can create an entirely new level of meaning beyond what is explicitly stated.

Soundscapes are also an important factor in poetry, and often employ devices such as alliteration and assonance to create a reading experience that is as enjoyable as it is informative. By utilizing these sound devices, a poet can emphasize key points, evoke particular settings and affect the overall flow of the poem.

Furthermore, poems can also employ onomatopoeia to great effect in order to create an atmosphere that is unique and engrossing. Through its ability to directly communicate certain sounds, onomatopoeia can help to ensure that a poem’s message is effectively understood and appreciated by the reader.

Context and Imagery

The context and imagery of a poem can also help to convey its meaning, as well as its underlying emotion. This can be achieved through the use of metaphors, similes, and other forms of figurative language, which can be used to effectively portray certain ideas in a particularly timely or emotive way.

The imagery of a poem can also be used to establish a deeper connection with the reader, as specific settings can be used to evoke certain memories or feelings that the reader can identify with. For example, evoking the setting of a childhood experience can help to bring the reader back to a more innocent time and establish the feeling of nostalgia.

Finally, imagery can also be used to create atmosphere and build suspense, allowing the writer to draw the reader in and hold their attention over the course of a poem. By controlling the images seeped throughout the poem, a writer can effectively transport their reader to a world of their own making.


The structure of a poem is also essential to its overall success, as the arrangement of lines and stanzas can control the flow of the poem and affect its overall message. This can be seen in both traditional and modern poetry, with both utilizing various structural techniques such as the use of various types of stanzas, rhyme schemes, and repetition.

In addition to affecting the flow of the poem, the structure can also be used to emphasize certain points and build tension throughout the poem. By controlling the tempo and the progression of the poem, the poet can control the mounting anticipation of the reader, allowing key points in the poem to be made with greater impact and emphasis.

Finally, the structure of a poem can also help to make it accessible to a wider range of readers, as it can be used to break up the poem into bite-sized chunks and make it easier to follow. By utilizing other specific structural techniques, such as the use of typography and layout, a poet can effectively make the poem easier to read while ensuring that it maintains its power and beauty.


By understanding the various patterns of poetry, a poet can successfully make use of the underlying power of their work. Through the use of rhythm and syntax, the poet can make the words of their poem more meaningful and emotive, allowing their message to come alive.

The word play and imagery of a poem can also create an additional layer of interest and effect, allowing the reader to become immersed in its world and subsequently, appreciate the deeper meaning behind its words. Finally, the structure of the poem is essential in ensuring that the reader understands and connects with the poem, as well as appreciates the skill of the poet.

In conclusion, understanding the patterns in poetry is essential for any aspiring poet. By utilizing the various metrics, a writer can effectively control the overall impact and emotion of their poem. Through the combination of rhythm, syntax, soundscapes, and imagery, a poet can create a masterpiece that will endure in the minds of their readers.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

Leave a Comment