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Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Anaphora [uh-naf-er-uh] is another poetry term, though it can be used in other types of writing, as well.  It means the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines.  According to Poets.org,  it is "one of the world's oldest poetic techniques. ...Not only can anaphora create a driving rhythm by the recurrence of the same sound, it can also intensify the emotion of the poem."

Here are a few examples of anaphora, one from a poem and the other from a novel:

Anaphora will repeat an opening phrase or word;
Anaphora will pour it into a mould (absurd)!
Anaphora will cast each subsequent opening;
Anaphora will last until it's tiring.

~ from Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse
written by John Hollander

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, 
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, 
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, 
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, 
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

~ from A Tale of Two Cities, written by Charles Dickens

I decided to try using anaphora myself and came up with this rough draft of a poem:

The earth welcomes the warm sunshine.
The earth drinks the rain as it falls from the sky.
The earth slowly turns from brown to green.
Embracing tiny sprouts, 
the earth encourages them to grow.
The earth praises the return of spring.

Think of your favorite poems.  Do any of them use anaphora?  Have you ever used anaphora yourself?  If not, give it a try!  (And please feel free to share your creations here!)

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