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Passions in Poetry

Digital Passions
Poetry Magazine

Digital Passions #2
published March 23, 2000


Editor's Musings by Sunshine
Anchor Point (our opening poem)
to WIT (Welcome, Introduction and Thanks)
Active PagePoetic License by Balladeer
Mid Point (our second poem)
Image-inary by Nancy Ness
Visitor Feedback
Interview with a Poet by Nicole Boyd
Closing Point (our final poem)
The Final Word by Poet deVine
End Notes / Unsubscribe

Read It All (one big page)

Welcome, Introduction and Thanks Mid Point (our second poem)

Poetic License
by Balladeer

So what is poetic license, anyway?

Actually, poetic license consists of rules used to bend grammatical rules for the purposes of writing ... or to be precise, "the liberties generally allowable for a poet to take with his subject matter to achieve a desired effect or with his grammatical construction, etc. to conform to the requirements of rhyme and meter, but in a broader sense, it includes creative deviations from historical fact, such as anachronisms."

Still with me? OK, let's get a little more specific, just for kicks:

Anachronisms - The placement of an event, person or thing out of its proper chronological relationship, sometimes unintentional but often deliberate.

Anachronisms consist of:

Hysteron proterons > figures of speech in which the natural or logical order of events is reversed Ex: "I die! I faint! I fail!" (Shelley...The Indian Serenade")

Hyperbatons > transpositions of the normal grammatical word order, either a single word moved from its usual place or a pair of words reversed or even more extremes of syntactic displacement

Hypallage > interchange of two elements in a phrase which changes the reference of the words to a less logical relationship Ex: "to comb your hair each morning" to "to each morning comb your hair"

Anastrophe > inversion of the natural or usual syntactical order of a pair of words for rhetorical or poetic effect. Ex: "he was inspired" to "inspired he was"; "tall tree" to "tree tall"

Scratching your head yet? Me, too. There aren't a lot of people familiar with these terms. The only point I'm trying to make is that poetic license allows you to break the rules but there are rules for breaking the rules! Many of us are in the habit of fracturing the English language and hollering "Poetic License!" when brought to our attention. No deal. We can move things around, stick adjectives behind nouns, and perform a variety of acrobatic movements with our words and phrases that we wouldn't do in normal conversation, make up new words if we want, � la Ogden Nash, but grammatical laws are grammatical laws. Bending them is poetic license... breaking them is just poetry badly done.


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