Entertainment / Literature / Poetic Diction: Distinctive language used by poets, i.e., language that would not be common in their everyday speech. The most common signs of poetic diction include involve archaisms, neologisms, rhyme, and unusual figures of speech. Teachers often point to Spenser's use of words like gentil and tobraken, or Shakespeare's use of abysm and climature, or Emily Dickinson's use of thee and thine. When they ask students, 'why did this poet write in such a way?' students often mistakenly reply, 'Because that's the way people talked back then.' On the contrary, in the 1500s, Spenser is resurrecting language that was common in Chaucer's day in the 1300s--not the language of his own time. The words abysm and climature are made-up words Shakespeare invented from abyss/chasm and climate/temperature, not words he would hear in everyday use on the London streets. Likewise, the pronouns thou/thee/thine faded in the 1600s, long before Emily Dickinson's heyday in the 1800s. These poets chose such language precisely because it is unusual for their time--because it is different from humdrum ordinary speech. (That's what makes it striking poetry, after all.) The concept of literary decorum (and its requirement for certain genres and characters to use lofty, elevated language) also generated thick poetic diction. As M. H. Abrams notes in volume I of The Norton Anthology, the results were phrases such as 'the finny tribe' for 'fish' and the 'the bleating kind' for 'sheep' (2958). To modern poets, such phrasing might seem overblown. The point, however, is that poetic diction is vastly different from daily speech.
Diction Adjective Synonyms: language, wording, (verbal or writing) style, expression,age, expressiveness, terminology, word choice, vocabulary, phraseology, phrasing, rhetoric
Diction Noun Synonyms: articulation, pronunciation, enunciation, delivery, elocution, oratory, presentation, speech, intonation, inflection
Poetic Noun Synonyms: poetical, lyric(al), metrical, musical, melodic, idyllic, elegiac, georgic, rhapsodic, epic, dithyrambic
Entertainment / Literature / Poetic Diction: Distinctive language used by poets, i.e., language that would not be common in their everyday speech. The most common signs of poetic diction include involve archaisms, neologisms, rhyme, and unusual MORE
Entertainment / Literature / Oxford English Dictionary: This fat, twelve+ volume work functions as an historical dictionary of English. It is generally considered the most authoritative and scholarly dictionary of English available--with nearly 300,000 wor MORE