Alliteration is the figurative term for when a beginning consonant sound is repeated over and over in a poem or text.
Alliteration is often used to provide a certain rhythmic sound to the poetry. The repetition of a specific sound can also affect the mood. For example, a repeated "w" sound often gives a lulling mood. The repetition of a harder sound-like "p" or "b"-sets a different mood.
Alliteration is heavily used in "tongue twisters."
Examples of Alliteration:
1. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. (repeated p sound)
2. Sally sells seashells by the sea shore. (repeated s sound)
3. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. (repeated w and c/ch sounds)
4. The sly, slithering snake snuck into the shed. (repeated s sound)
5. The river rushed rapidly over the rocks. (repeated r sound)
Example of Alliteration from Literature:
1. From Romeo and Juliet: "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes . . ." (repeated f sound)
2. From "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe: "Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered weak and weary" (repeated w sound)
3. William Blake's "Tyger": "burning bright," "frame thy fearful symmetry"
4. Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends": "We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow / and watch where the chalk-white arrows go" (repeated w sound)