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Write a poem that uses at least two different forms of repetition – 31p31d

Day 14 of 31 poems in 31 days.

Repeating Yourself

Stack of baskets
Stack of baskets

One of the central concepts of poetry is repetition. As poets we repeat sounds, syllables, words, syntax, meters, lines and stanzas. The use of repetition is one of the qualities of poetry that separates it from prose. In prose, repetition is rare and usually done to either increase clarity or to make a single point.

Repetition creates patterns. Whether the patterns are phonetic or syntactic, when people encounter these patterns they recognize them and respond to them. If you repeat the same word or line over and over again, the reader will assume that it has significance. If you repeat a sound (rhyme, alliteration, consonance) it links words or lines together. If you repeat a meter, it moves the poem forward and adds a musical quality to the poem. If you repeat syntax, it allows different ideas either form links or create contrasts.

Repetition is a tool. If used well, it adds to a poem through the links and patterns it creates. If used badly, it can become too obvious, creating predictability. Like any poetic tool, it should be used carefully and with intent. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish by using repetition, there’s a good chance you will misuse it.

Here are a few of many types of repetition to consider:

Adnomination:?repetition of words with the same root word (e.g. inform, informal, perform, formula)

Anaphora – repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses, sentences, or lines.

Assonance: repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in non-rhyming stressed syllables.

Alliteration: repetition?of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.

Consonance: repetition?consonant?sounds?in close proximity.

Meter: repetition of stressed and unstressed syllables.

Rhyme: repetition of word endings, often at the end of a line.

Ploce: repetition of a word or phrase

Epanalepsis: repeating a word or phrase from the beginning of a sentence, line, or stanza at the end of the sentence, line, or stanza.


Today’s Poetic Assignment

Write a poem that uses at least two different forms of repetition. Try to embrace at least one form of repetition that you don’t ordinarily use.


  1. Stitch

    Woke up this morning
    to pain

    My back’s been gone
    going on five days

    Just a stitch
    Just a pill
    Just a minute

    Can’t lie here all day
    if it still hurts

    Sunday breakfast
    stitch in time
    ticked in just before noon

    Eggs, sausage, buttered toast
    family captured
    in a rare moment
    at the same table

    for just a stitch

    Class project next
    make a mole

    Green fabric purchased
    for project GuacaMOLE

    Just draw
    Just cut
    Just close enough

    Thread chosen – green
    Thread the needle
    Thread knotted

    Start the stitch

    Stitch stitch stitch

    Just one short line
    so he can see how it’s done

    Gently correct
    long stitch
    uneven stitch
    stiches wrapped around

    Hunched over
    threading the needle
    again and again

    I forget completely
    the pain in my back

    It hits me suddenly

    Beautiful revelation
    Beautiful old eyes
    desperately missed

    The other one who sewed

    Who really knew how
    Who worked always through the pain
    Who left

    Still teaching me

    One focus
    One stitch follows the next

    Stitch stitch stitch

    Until the pattern of life
    is complete

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