Literary Devices in Poetry - Poetic Devices List.pdf -...

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Literary Devices in Poetry: Poetic Devices List Let’s examine the essential literary devices in poetry, with examples. Try to include these poetic devices in your next finished poems! 1. Anaphora Anaphora describes a poem that repeats the same phrase at the beginning of each line. Sometimes the anaphora is a central element of the poem’s construction; other times, poets only use anaphora in one or two stanzas, not the whole piece. Consider “ The Delight Song of Tsoai-talee ” by N. Scott Momaday. I am a feather on the bright sky I am the blue horse that runs in the plain I am the fish that rolls, shining, in the water I am the shadow that follows a child I am the evening light, the lustre of meadows I am an eagle playing with the wind I am a cluster of bright beads I am the farthest star I am the cold of dawn I am the roaring of the rain I am the glitter on the crust of the snow I am the long track of the moon in a lake I am a flame of four colors I am a deer standing away in the dusk I am a field of sumac and the pomme blanche I am an angle of geese in the winter sky I am the hunger of a young wolf I am the whole dream of these things You see, I am alive, I am alive I stand in good relation to the earth I stand in good relation to the gods I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful I stand in good relation to the daughter of Tsen-tainte You see, I am alive, I am alive
This poem is an experiment in metaphor: how many ways can the self be reproduced after “I am”? The simple “I am” anaphora draws attention towards the poet’s increasing need to define himself, wh ile also setting the poet up for a series of well-crafted poetic devices. Anaphora describes a poem that repeats the same phrase at the beginning of each line. The self shapes the core of Momaday’s poem, as emphasized by the anaphora. Still, our eye isn’t drawn to the column of I am’s, but rather to Momaday’s stunning metaphors for selfhood. 2. Conceit A conceit is, essentially, an extended metaphor. Which, when you think about it, it’s kind of stuck -up to have a fancy word for an extended metaphor, so a conceit is pretty conceited, don’t you think? In order for a metaphor to be a conceit, it must run through the entire poem and be the poem’s central device. Consider the poem “ The Flea ” by John Donne. The speaker uses the flea as a conceit for physical relations, arguing that two bodies have already intermingled if they’ve shared the odious bed bug. With the flea as a conceit for intimacy, Donne presents a poem both humorous and strangely erotic. A conceit must run through the entire poem as the poem’s central device. The conceit ranks among the most powerful literary devices in poetry.In your own poetry, you can employ a conceit by exploring one metaphor in depth. For example, if you were to use matchsticks as a metaphor for love, you could explore love in all its intensity: love as a stroke of luck against a matchbox strip, love as wildfire, love as different matchbox designs, love as phillumeny, etc.

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