What is Poetic Licence?

Poetic license refers is a liberty taken by a poet to produce a desired effect by breaking established rules of language. The poet departs from the normal word order. The language of poetry is sometimes different from the normal English sentence pattern.

The poets use words, sentences structure and phrases according to their choice in poetry. So the freedom poets get into the choice of diction (words) (lexis) phrases, syntax (grammar) etc. are the notion which we call poetic license. A normal English sentence has a certain order of words and phrases. With poetic license, this order can be inverted.

In a broader sense poetic license is applied not only to language but to all the ways in which the poets and literary persons get freedom in the devices (parts) of meter and rhyme as well as in stanza pattern. It also refers to the freedom in the choice of fictional characters and events. For example E. E. Cummings has got freedom of capital letter and has also dropped the conventional punctuation. Moreover, his use of small letters probably signifies that nothing is more important than anything else. Other poets who experiment with language and style have taken a larger poetic license even to eccentric extremes.

Published on 23 Jan. 2014 by Kedar Nath Sharma

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