CLASSIC POET’S CORNER: William Wordsworth

A Lesson in Personification

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Personification is the party animal of the poetic devices. It takes a boring, stationary object that lacks personality and charisma and breathes life into it. Suddenly that ‘thing’ becomes a ‘her’ and she’s all kinds of sexy with a little smidgen of swagger and a whole lotta charm. What if she was a brick red tube of lipstick? See what I mean? Alive. Telling a story. Living the dream.

William Wordsworth had it all going on when kicking back on his couch, daydreaming of the good stuff. You can almost hear all those daffodils in harmony singing their little hearts out about all that sunshine and happiness. Loaded with similes, too, let this jovial poem inspire you. Search through your existing poems, and find objects you could set in motion, then edit your work to include phrases with humanlike actions, or at least switch up the pronouns, and set the objects free from their inanimate dungeon.

You can also make a list of objects and actions or feeling for these new items to experience then throw them into a circumstance. Now, write some phrases and toss them into a new poem, like the rockstar poet you know you are.

Here, I’ve started a list for you:


Rain—–Caress, Tickle, Pinch                                                                 

Rainbow—–Sing, Whisper, Rejoice                                                        

Ocean—–Cradle, Rage, Call                                                                    

Ferrari —–Purr, Calculate, She                                                                   

Bed—–Beckon, Moan, Embrace                                                                                

Wedding ring—– Speak, Secure, Promise

Garden—– Celebrate, Mentor, Please

Finally, you can bring living-like action to objects and emotions, too. But, just so you know, this technique straddles the poetic device of implied metaphor depending on what it’s being compared to. Think, “Does it have a heartbeat?” then, we’ll let it slide and call it personification for this exercise. If it’s alive but doesn’t have a heartbeat, then it’s probably safer to stick it in the metaphor bubble. You can even hit up my Categories list on my home page for more of these Classic Poet’s Corner blogs to find the one on Metaphors and go from there if you don’t have Come Write with Me: POETRY Workbook & Journal (For Teens & Adults). If you have the book—cool—you can flip ahead and check out the Metaphor page then come back here later.

Comparative Examples:

The torrid lava clawed its way to the edge of the city, obliterating all things in its vengeful path. (Personification—The action and emotion embodied in the lava could be construed as animalistic or human (a super scary human!)

Love wound its tentacles around my heart and dragged it into the depths of all things hearts and flowers. (Implied Metaphor—Love is an octopus.)

Bitterness pricked my heart, leaving it wounded and oozing with pain. (Implied Metaphor—Bitterness is a thorn.)

And, hear me out, you can even bend the rules a bit and put living characteristics to an inanimate object or emotion that aren’t necessarily human.

Now, go forth, you crafter of creativity, and let out all that eager poetry knocking on your heart’s door. I can’t wait for you to share your poetry with me!

~Brooke E. Wayne


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Brooke E. Wayne: Romance with a Kiss of Humor

Inspired by Love and Laughter, Romantic Comedy Author