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Prompt #141 Could you repeat that, please?

January 31, 2013

Could you repeat that, please?
We Write Poems:


Anaphora   (pronounced “ah-NAF-oh-rah”)

So what, you ask, is anaphora?  Actually, the poetic technique of anaphora goes back as far as the Greeks and simply means “I repeat.”  Whether in prose or poetry, anaphora is a repetition device where the same expression (word or words) is repeated at the beginning of two or more lines, clauses, sentences or verses.  In poetry the repetition of the phrase can be just at the beginning of each line, setting the tone as a kind of meditation or a mantra, or it can be utilized more subtlety within the poem.  The poem can be free verse or prose style.

Cautionary note: no two ways about it, needless repetition can be deadly and put to sleep even the most enamored of readers.  Done right, however, and used strategically, repetition can wake up the reader and help them to focus on a key idea.  It can create a driving rhythm of the same sound and/or it can build toward a climax that creates a strong emotional effect.

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), Casablanca (1942)


Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where
Nor any drop to drink.

Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

So for this week’s prompt let’s wake up the reader, shall we?  Let’s be imaginative, forceful, thoughtful or even amusing and repeat ourselves by employing the poetic technique of anaphora.  Let’s do as so many famous poets have done before us and use this figure of speech to convey and emphasize unusual and vivid images.  Let’s just have fun and experiment a bit with repetition.

Come back to leave a link to your poem next Wednesday when you see our second follow-up post called, It’s Post Your Poems Day!  If you have questions about We Write Poems and our prompt-and-poem process, or if you are new here at WWP, please read our about page.

  1. January 31, 2013 12:40 am

    Did they spell malice as malace in the US at that time?

    • January 31, 2013 5:06 am

      Ôops! I missed that one. That was a quick cut and paste and the wrong spelling of malice escaped my notice. Where’s a red pen when you need one.. I’d like to say it’s an ‘Olde English” spelling but I’m pretty sure malice has always been with an i and not an a.

  2. January 31, 2013 3:20 am

    Oh what fun! I repeat myself quite naturally! 🙂

  3. February 2, 2013 11:41 am

    This sounds like a great one to try, Julie!! Thank you!! 🙂

  4. February 6, 2013 7:21 pm

    I will try one

  5. October 24, 2015 4:23 pm

    Tüzifa, tűzifa, olcsó tüzfa, eladó tüzifa, tuzifa országosan,

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