- Also called head rhyme or initial rhyme, the repetition of the initial sounds (usually consonants) of stressed syllables in neighboring words or at short intervals within a line or passage, usually at word beginnings, as in "wild and woolly," or the line from Shelley's "The Cloud":
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
Sidelight: Alliteration has a gratifying effect on the sound, gives a reinforcement to stresses, and can also serve as a subtle connection or emphasis of key words in the line, but alliterated words should not "call attention" to themselves by strained usage.
I use alliteration when writing my poems. Being a free verse writer, I tend to stay away from rhyme. Alliteration is as close as I will get to rhyming even though it isn't quite rhyme -- If that makes sense.