Intoxicating Rhetorical Poetry.

While I can’t say that life has grown any less complicated since my brother has completed his edTPA (teacher certification), I can definitely attest to the fun to be had with his intoxicating amount of free time. As resident poet, he decided that we ought to practice poetry together over the holidays. But not just any old poetry practice. Oh, no. That would be much too simple. We should choose a common topic, poetic form, and meter to practice, and on top of that, wouldn’t it be a good idea to add in one of the rhetorical devices discussed in Mark Forsyth’s The Elements of Eloquence, which I geeked about last year.

For example, last time we did this exercise, I picked the form (sonnet, because I already know I can write decent ones. Yes, I am a chicken.), my brother picked the rhetorical device (Litotes, which is essentially affirming something by denying its opposite), and we settled on a theme of apathy (and also love, since sonnets are the poems of love, after all).

Here was my result:

It’s not as if I do not like the guy.
He’s funny, witty, charming, handsome, bright;
Wealthy to boot. The type a girl would die
For. Anyway, she’d put up quite a fight
Before she’d let some other broad shove in
And take a man like this away from her.
And let’s be honest here: A dropping pin
Would not be heard if he said “Later
I am free. Who wants to get a drink?”
Yet I, who could get him if I wanted,
Can hardly tell myself he’s worth the ink
To write this. Work leaves me undaunted,
Yet love, I guess, just ain’t the thing for me.
Not while I’m sunk in so much apathy.

Yes, I’m aware that the quatrains run into each other. But guess what? With two counts of litotes in my favor (or one and a half, because the first line is kind of… not); as well as some trochaic substitutions, caesura, and enjambment; I don’t really care. I dashed this off in about twenty or thirty minutes. That’s the joyous aspect of not having anything invested in poetry for its own sake.

My brother, on the other hand, is a fantastic poet, and he took about two solid hours to write his.

It turned out beautiful.

But I had more litotes than he did. So ha.*

If this sounds like fun to anybody, here’s a nice list of rhetorical devices. Or alternatively, you could just snag a copy of the book. It’s magnificent, and I highly recommend it.



*You can tell we’re not competitive at all, right?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s