Are there any resources that teach syntax aimed at creative uses? I find that having words to describe what I'm doing as a poet is very useful, so I want to talk about the different sort of grammatical constructs I'm using.


When you say syntax and grammar for a poem, I'm not completely sure what you mean. Are you talking sentence structure, for example, or about the various techniques of sound and phrasing that are more likely to appear in poetry, such as rhyme and alliteration?

For the sake of argument, I'm going to assume you mean the latter and then course correct if you tell me I'm wrong. There are a number of excellent books that go into the use of tools like meter, alliteration, and so on. I would recommend "The Poet's Companion" by Kim Addonizio & Dorianne Laux, "The Poetry Home Repair Manual" by Ted Kooser, "In the Palm of Your Hand" by Steve Kowit, and "Creating Poetry" by John Drury. There are others as well. Each of these books has more than information on these techniques and it may be useful to look at more than one.

  • I was thinking more about sentence structure, but your resources are very helpful!
    – lightning
    May 6 '19 at 19:16
  • Good! Glad to be of help. Sentence structure can be a strange thing in poetry. Many poems use essentially a "normal" sentence structure, but more experimental poets may throw that completely out of the window. May 6 '19 at 19:18

You might try here as a start: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms It's descriptive, not pedagogical but it's a fairly comprehensive list of techniques and concepts related to poetry.

You might also enjoy this list, although it's far more idiosyncratic than comprehensive: https://www.britannica.com/list/9-obscure-literary-terms

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