What is Poetic Language?

What is poetic language?

Poetic language refers to the language poets use to make their poems seem richer and more interesting and evocative. Poetic language often includes various literary devices, and is often more compact than the language used in prose.

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Poetic language is language that "adds value" to a literary work. Prosaic language, with which it is often contrasted, focuses on "just the facts." Prosaic language is the language of science and practical matters: its point is to state information as clearly and concisely as possible and make its meaning clear and unambiguous in a straightforward way. When you are trying a new recipe, for example, you don't want to have to wonder if "watch until the pot boils" is a metaphor or a literal direction. It needs to literally means what it says.

Poetic language, in contrast, adds beauty, multiple layers of meaning, and ambiguity to the words it uses. It aims to convey truths, most often about the human question, that transcend mere facts. It hopes that its readers will see life in a new way or make a new connection due to the way language is used. The greatest authors, such as Shakespeare, invented new words to communicate what they wanted to say or, like Virginia Woolf, invented a new way of writing novels to more accurately depict the subjectivity of experience.

Because is is trying to delight and communicate truths, poetic language is distinguished by its use of features such as metaphor, pun, and irony, as well as vivid imagery meant to appeal to the emotions. Discerning and debating how to interpret a poem or a story is, depending on your point of view, one of the joys or frustrations of a literary work.

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Poetic language is essentially the language that is most commonly associated with poetry. It often includes figurative language, as poets often use figures of speech to make ordinary words and phrases seem more extraordinary and captivating and to better portray their intent. In other words, poets use poetic language to amplify their writing. Thus, similes, metaphors, alliterations, puns, hyperboles, symbols, personification, irony, onomatopoeia, and other figures of speech can be considered poetic language.

The term "poetic language" can also be used to describe the language that poets used in the past, before modern literature and poetry. For example, the distinctively artistic language Shakespeare used in his sonnets can also be referred to as poetic language.

Since it's not as literal and as straightforward as ordinary language, poetic or figurative language can sometimes be rather difficult to understand; this is mainly due to the fact that poets often explore and include various meanings of words and phrases and make comparisons to solidify their message. Poetic language is used with the purpose of creating deeper, more complex and more meaningful poems and texts. It is supposed to evoke certain emotions, feelings, thoughts and sensations, and present various images and ideas to the readers.

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The term "poetic language" is used to highlight the differences between poetry and other forms of speech. The specific nature of what is considered poetic varies over period and culture. In those cultures that do make such distinctions, however, the term "poetic language" is one which distinguishes elements more common in...

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poetry than in non-poetic written genres or ordinary speech.

In many languages, poetry is distinguished by its use of regular patterns of sound, such as alternation of long and short or stressed and unstressed syllables or repetition of similar sounds at regular intervals or in close proximity. Poetry also often uses unusual patterns of word order, often for the sake of metrical regularity.

In traditional cultures, poetry may use archaic words and grammatical structures which are no longer in ordinary use. Heightened or unusual language and figures of speech are also often characteristic of poetry.

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Poetic language is the language most often (but not exclusively) used in poetry. The key is that poetry is much more compressed than fiction (short stories or novels for instance). Since the language is denser in a poem, the word order is so much more significant. For instance, a poem and a short story may both attempt to convey the the beauty of nature, but the poem will do so in three stanzas while the short story will do it on three pages. To get the same point across, the poem has to rely on a number of techniques that will evoke emotions in a reader. These techniques are called poetic devices and may include rhyming, metaphors, similes, etc. Unlike fiction, poetry or poetic language does not have to follow grammatical rules, which allows readers to sort of unpack the poem and make meaning. Through the use of poetic language a poem is often more intense emotionally and also more open to interpretation.

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Poetic language is the use of any of the literary/poetic language techniques that are used by poets to convey their message.  The following are some of the most common:

Figurative Language Examples

1. Simile -- comparison using like or as

ex.  The pretty flower is like a ray of sunshine in my garden.

2.  Metaphor -- implied comparison

ex.  The pretty flower is a ray of sunshine in my garden.

3.  Personfication -- giving a human quality to a non-human thing

ex.  The flower smiled its radiance over the rest of the garden.

4.  Symbolism -- an object or person that represents some other quality. 

ex.  The beautiful flower represents the glory of nature.

5.  Imagery -- language that appeals to any of the senses

Ex. The vibrant smooth yellow petals emitted a beautiful perfume that attrached buzzy bees.

Sound Devices

1.  Assonance -- repetition of vowels sounds

Ex. The flowers allowed me a glimpse into beauty.

2.  Consonance -- repetition of consonant sounds within words

ex.  The flowers call me to tell all their beauty.  (L's)

3.  Alliteration -- repetition of sound at the start of words

ex.  The flowers flowed freely down the vine.

4.  internal rhyme -- rhyming words within a line

ex.  The flowers call all of the bees.

5.  end rhyme -- rhyming words at the end of at tleast 2 lines

7.  meter / rhythm-- the rythmic pattern of syllables in a line -- look to mark the stressed and unstressed syllables and look for a pattern.  Shakespeare wrote primary in iambic pentatmater.  That means each even-numbered syllable was stressed (iambic) and there were 5 of those in a line. (pentameter)

You can learn more and see more examples if you look at the link below.

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