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Poetic diction

The vocabulary, phrasing, and grammatical usage deemed appropriate to verse as well as the deviations allowable for effect within it. Aristotle discussed the proper diction for writers in his Poetics, and English poets have long struggled with which kind of language to employ and when. Wordsworth argued against the ornate language of his predecessors in the preface to Lyrical Ballads. Poetic diction is distinguished from common speech by effects such as circumlocution, elision, personification and Latinate terminology such as “azure skies.”

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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