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Anglo-Saxon Style

March 1, 2013

A writer from the program Writers in the Schools (WITS) came and taught the kids how to write Anglo-Saxon-style poetry today.

Here is mine, Anglo-Saxon style:

The Wanderer II

I hike the heart-beast down the asphalt-artery.
She nags at her neck-worm and watches an acorn-accumulator.
She emits odor-eels onto the soil-shroud.
I scoop them into the scrap-sanctuary.
We stroll back to the sleep-shield.

Anglo-Saxon poetry, rather than focusing on rhyme, owes much to the literary devices of alliteration and kenning. The kennings from Anglo-Saxon poetry tend to be two words in length, such as “whale road” for sea.

The kids came up with their own kennings. For “motorcycle,” one of the students wrote, “road cheetah.” For moon, another suggested “space cookie.” For stars, one suggestion was “solar spit.”

After the kids had the hang of kennings, the writer suggested that they write down a sentence describing a boring, ordinary activity. Then, they were to Anglo-Saxon-ify it by adding alliteration and kenning.

The class example sentence began as, “I wake up and get out of bed.”
It became, “I open my eye-hatches and hurl out of human’s nest.”

Another thing to keep in mind is that Anglo-Saxon had no French-influenced words in it. So sticking with one-syllable words will make your poetry sound more authentic.

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