Whether you’ve stumbled upon this section of my website by accident, or if you zapped one of the QR codes in my latest publication, WELCOME!

Repetition, as a poetic device, can seem like a shortcut to making your poem longer, but it’s actually a multifaceted technique that makes your poetry shiny and reflective. You’ve heard of the poem about all the miles to go before that guy can sleep. You know the one where he’s trudging through the woods on a snowy evening. Ring any bells? No? Frost, anyone? Anyone? Celine Dion borrowed his line for a song; I even stumbled across a weightloss blog that lifted the phrase, too. The point is, repetition sticks in people’s heads, so they use it (even if it’s someone else’s line). People like it, connect to it, and feel all cozy and familiar because of it. That’s not a bad thing. You want your poem to be remembered, right? Throw a catchy line in it, then lather, rinse, and repeat every stanza or so.

Notice how Adelaide Crapsey uses the phrase, “properly scholarly attitude,” like an excuse, a weapon, a fault, a badge, and even an unattainable burden? As the inventor of the Cinquain poem, she knows her way around repetition in all sorts of manifestations. In this poem’s case, the meaning of the repeated phrase changes with every utterance due to its context.

As my “Dear Writer,” section of my poetry workbook and journal explains, REPETITION comes in different flavors. You can have the standard repeating of a word, phrase, verse, or more (think couplet/quatrain, etc.) You can also sprinkle a bunch of synonyms in your poem, and voilà, there’s a concept repeated. Patterns, rhythms—you name it—do it more than once, and check off this device as done.

The other thing you might want to know about repetition as an FYI thing is that it takes on specific (Greek and Latin rooted fancy-shmancy) names depending on where you plug your repetition into your work and how. (For example: Anaphora—a word or phrase that hangs out at the front of a line … Mesodiplosis—a word or phrase that hangs out in the middle of every line …) Shall I go on? Overwhelmed much? I’ll save the full-blown college course on all these types of repetition for another blog (or workbook) … Let’s keep it simple with what’s commonly referred to as a REFRAIN (which hangs out at the end of a stanza, like in Crapsey’s poem above) for this exercise.

Here are some one-liners you can use in your work, if you want, but no pressure, mm-kay?

… for all the reasons why.                                        

… because no one could.                                           

… underneath the shimmering stars.

… when I look into your eyes.                                  

… inside my heart.

… around the merry-go-round to me.                        

… before we knew it all.                    

… into the mist they went.                                       

… until the world grows wise.

… between the lines.                                                 

… where I find my place in you.       

… beyond the realm of reality.                                   

… behind the lies comes truth.

… somewhere inside my heart.                                 

… after the rain came to an end.        

… amid the burning embers.               .                                   .

Now, go forth, my suave poet, and use one of these prompts or come up with your own prepositional phrase to make some memorable poetry. I can’t wait for you to share your poetry with me!

~ Brooke E. Wayne



CLASSIC POET’S CORNER: Alfred Lord Tennyson


Whether you’ve stumbled upon this section of my website by accident, or if you zapped one of the QR codes in my latest publication, WELCOME!

Loaded with all kinds of poetic devices and layers upon layers of secrets within its surface meaning, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s shortest poem could fill a book with all its depth. We’ll keep this lesson short and sweet though, just like the poem if you only read into it like it’s about a hungry bird.

The spotlight this round is ALLITERATION—that snazzy poetic device that requires two or more words in a verse to begin with the same consonant and sound.

Society loves alliteration. We shake this poetic device all over everything liberally like we’re salting the snowy earth with it after a severe storm. (See what I did there. Bam!) We like our Taco Tuesdays, Breakfast Bonanzas, and our Fun Fridays, don’t we? Whether it’s a book club, quilting circle, or a Facebook group, I betcha the squad’s name is composed of a cluster of words that all start with the same consonant and clip off the tongue when pronouncing it. (Now, read that line out loud for extra fun!) I’m not even going to hide the fact that I went all alliterative with the catch phrase “Classic Poet’s Corner,” when, in fact, some of the poets I use for this writerly segment are not even from the Classic Era. I just liked the way it sounded. So far, no one seems to mind.

Alliteration is a beautiful thing. It creates a melody in our heads when we read lines of poetry harboring this little gem. It gives free verse poetry rhythm while it’s lacking rhyme. It also makes memorizing poetry a cinch.

Here is an extensive list of alliterative words that you can shake into your own poetry:

Amazing, Adorable, Awful, Aching , Adamant, Austere, Awesome

Boisterous, Bossy, Bad, Beautiful, Becoming, Bright, Brilliant, Blushed

Crisp, Crunchy, Crackly,  Clever, Clipped, Cloudy, Crystal, Clear

Dry, Dripping, Drought, Dusty, Dank, Dark, Deadly, Doomed, Destined

Energetic, Expressive, Ecstasy, Elated, Enchantment, Enthralled

Fond, Futile, Feverish, Fresh, Flourishing, Frightened, Freakish, Fun

Gross, Grand, Grisly, Garish, Ghostly, Gorgeous, Great, Gritty

Heavenly, Heated, Helpful, Hurtful, Hyper, Hysterical, Happy

Icky, Irritable, Irked , Iridescent, Ironic, Inspirational, Insipid, Instant

Justify, Jargon, Joyful,  Jittery, Jumpy, Jovial, Jointed, Jerk

Kinship, Keeping, Kinetic, Knot, Kind, Kiss, Kaleidoscope

Love, Like, Lust, Lilting, Lofty, Liquid, Lazy, Laboring

Magnificent, Marry, Momentous, Majestic, Meticulous

Nocturnal, New, Narrow, Naughty, Narrative, Narrow, Nice

Overly, Obvious, Oblivious, Off, Obnoxious, Opposing

Perfect, Pretty, Pity, Precipitous, Precocious, Proper, Precious

Quivering, Quilted, Quiet, Quest, Quintessential, Quaint

Robust, Rotund, Rot, Ripe, Ruddy, Resplendent, Radiant

Steamy, Stylish, Secretive, Solid, Sassy, Secure, Seductive

Taunting, Teasing, Tumultuous, Timid, Texture, Timely

Upon, Underrated, Undeniable, Understated, Utopia, Uppity

Verified, Vanilla, Veritable, Vast, Void, Vulnerable, Vixen

Wizened, Wisdom, Whimsical, Wish, Wonderful, Wanderer, Wet

Xerox … I got nothin’ without Googling a bunch of weird words neither of us would use. :-/ Maybe try some silly made-up onomatopoeias?!)

Zephyr, Zoo, Zoom, Zap, Zigzag, Zany, Zesty, Zip, Zebra

Now, go forth and buckle up buttercup; you’ve got to get that gorgeous poetry written. I can’t wait for you to share your poetry with me!

~Brooke E. Wayne



A Lesson in SIMILE

Whether you’ve stumbled upon this section of my website by accident, or if you zapped one of the QR codes in my latest publication, WELCOME!

O, this poem is like so, so overdone

That it’s forever lodged in my head;

Oh, this poem’s so perfect for teaching similes

That it’s what’s proceeding ahead …

Similes have a unique way of wiggling themselves into our everyday language and thoughts. We’re always making comparisons between things. We just do. Robert Burn’s poem capitalizes on comparing red roses among other things to love or as the poets in the 1700s would say, “luve,”  (go ahead and let it roll off your tongue with a purr in that swagger-inducing accent you hear in your head. You know you want to. Do it. Duuuu it.)

The cool thing about similes is they bring anything to life including that first line of your writing called a hook that you’ve been banging your head against your keyboard over trying to come up with for hours. Be it a novel, short story, or even an expository term paper, it’s a guarantee you’ll reel your reader in with a simile because it forces one’s imagination to action.

Slip this poetic device into your stanzas and build a thought-bank of comparisons for your reader to mull over. People will nom those similes up like a never-ending bucket of popcorn. Striking on imagery and complementing other devices such as hyperboles and personification, similes beguile because they require tangible items to get their creativity on.

Here are some emotions, objects (concrete nouns), and personality attributes that pair well in comparison with concrete images.

Mix and match or chose a word and create your own personalized list:

Affectionate   Angry     Brave     Clever    Extravagant

Happiness   Helpless  Joyful  Love    Lonely

Neurotic    Outgoing   Patriotic    Pleasant   Reserved

Sad   Shy   Sophisticated   Tender Troubled

Uplifting   Visionary     Venturesome   Wise   Young

Apple Orchard   Atomic Bomb   Butterfly   Bull   Campfire

Candlelight   Castle   City Lights   Dungeon     Earth

Fireplace   Home   Horseback    Jungle   Laboratory

Meteor Shower   Mountains   Rainbow   Seaside   Sky Scrapers

Space   Street Lamps   Trees   Urban Streets   Wild West

STORM: abandoned, beach house, bitter cold, blanketed, blizzard, cabin, chilling, cottage, crackling, darkness, droplets, electric, flashes, frost, hail, hurricane, ice, lightning, pelting, pressure, rain, rattling, sleet, snow, snowflakes, stillness, thunder, tornado, winter, wind

EXAMPLE: The troubled pain in her eyes gripped me like a lightning storm, as she flashed bitter cold resentment in a single glare before walking away–my words of ending ‘us’ abandoned in the stillness she left behind without a word.

SUNSHINE: apples, berries, boats, breeze, bright, cabin, clouds, coconut, cotton, fruit, grass, hammock, heat, iced tea, jam, lemonade, mountains, pineapples, sailing, sand, strawberries, summer, sun rays, sweet, warm, white picket fence, whispering, wild flowers, windy

EXAMPLE: Happiness broke loose in her heart like sun (rays bursting free from behind a solitary cloud, scattering her mournful thoughts as memories of making homemade jam with wild strawberries gathered on her grandparents’ summer property invaded her mind when she stepped into the aging cabin in the mountains.

Yes, I have been known to write the world’s longest sentences. Please, forgive me.)

Here’s another exercise for you to play around with. Try to incorporate these sensuous elements into a verse that includes a comparison of something totally unrelated. I bet you’ll be a pro at it in no time!

Looks like a pile of cogs and gears

Tastes like a bag of stale bagels

Smells like a bouquet of wild flowers

Feels like a crisp stack of a million dollars

Sounds like a heart beating in love

Sweet like a little kid’s lollipop

Putrid like a drain

Fragrant like a bottle of the sweetest French perfume

Painful like a knife to the heart

Cleansing like a deluge of fragrant, summer rain

Healing like the veins of gold holding broken china together (kintsugi)

Now, go forth, you cultivator of cool beans, and find that perfect pairing to match up and stuff in a poem like a __________. I can’t wait for you to share your poetry with me!

~Brooke E. Wayne