Welcome, welcome, welcome!

I’m Sarah, and this is dVerse, the poets’ pub – hot and cool words, rhymes on tap, verses to go.

I recently attended a wonderful poetry workshop with the love Anna Saunders (@AnnaSaund1), where we looked at repetition in poetry. We looked at several ways to use repetition, but tonight, I’d like to think about anaphora.

So what is anaphora?

This is what Wikipedia says:  anaphora (Greekἀναφορά, “carrying back”) is a rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis

Here are some examples:

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, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Or this:

From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories, sad brother, from the fitful risings and fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon late-risen and swollen as if with tears,
From those beginning notes of yearning and love, there in the transparent mist,
From the thousand responses of my heart never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous’d words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such as now they start the scene revisiting,…

Walt Whitman, “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking

And this:

And if it snowed and snow covered the drive
he took a spade and tossed it to one side.
And always tucked his daughter up at night
And slippered her the one time that she lied.
And every week he tipped up half his wage.
And what he didn’t spend each week he saved.
And praised his wife for every meal she made.
And once, for laughing, punched her in the face.

And for his mum he hired a private nurse.
And every Sunday taxied her to church.
And he blubbed when she went from bad to worse.
And twice he lifted ten quid from her purse.

Here’s how they rated him when they looked back:
sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that.

Poem – Simon Armitage

It’s a powerful way of creating emphasis, and I think it gives a feel of a litany or a great speech. It’s something we all use quite casually in our verse, but tonight I want you to really lean into it, and work that repetition.

I’d like you to pick one of these verbs as the repeating verb

  • remember
  • dream
  • eat
  • choose
  • love
  • fear
  • hope
  • paint
  • lose

Remember, these go at the START of the clause, so you might end up with something like:

I Remember by Joe Brainard

I remember a piece of old wood with termites running around all over it the termite men found under our front porch.
I remember
 when one year in Tulsa by some freak of nature we were invaded by millions of grasshoppers for about three or four days.
I remember
, downtown, whole sidewalk areas of solid grasshoppers.
I remember a shoe store with a big brown x-ray machine that showed up the bones in your feet bright green.

And to end with, here’s the Police – the kings of anaphora!

I hope I’ve inspired you! And you know what to do:

  • Write that poem!
  • Please add a link back to this post – it really increases our readership, and yours.
  • Link up to Mr Linky
  • Read, read, read and comment, comment, comment!
  • Have fun.