Add adnomination to your poetry

Playing with language is one of the more entertaining and challenging aspects of writing poetry. There are so many ways to play with words: rhyme, alliteration, assonance, puns, meter, obscure words, nonsense words, and so on. Today I thought I would introduce one trick that you may already practice without knowing the name for it.

Adnomination is a poetic device in which you take a morpheme (a root meaning that is shared by many words) and use it in multiple(often opposing) ways. A good example of a morpheme that can be used in this way is the word time. Time exists as its own word, but it is also a part of many other words. Just a few of these are:

  • Timetable
  • Lunchtime
  • Nighttime
  • Timely
  • Ragtime
  • Timer
  • Pastime
  • Meantime
  • Maritime
  • Peacetime

Other morphemes don’t form words on their own, but can be found in many words. An example of this is radi. Radi is a morpheme that comes from Latin. Its base meaning is ray. Some words that include the letters radi are:

  • Radiant
  • Radial
  • Irradiate
  • Radiation
  • Radiator
  • Sporadic
  • Radio
  • Radish
  • Radical
  • Paradise
  • Extradite
  • Degrading

Clearly, not all of these words are actually using radi as a morpheme , but that is the fun of poetic license. Because the letters appear, you can play a true morpheme off of a false morpheme. Think of it as the adnomination version of an off-rhyme. Adnomination actually combines elements of rhymes and puns. It plays the meaning of one word off of the meaning of another that shares some of the same letters such as a sporadic radical or an irradiated radio. It is just one more way to have fun with language when you write poetry.

Today’s Poetry Prompt

Use one of the lists of words above or pick your own morpheme and use it to add adnomination to your poetry.

For My Former Employer

It seemed so informal
The phone call late in the day
That pleasant voice with a sprig of empathy
Telling me I was on my own now
There’s a formula that says
Inform the fired on a Friday
There’s likely to be less trouble then
Ask any questions you have first
Then perform the amputation quickly
Just before you head home
Or to happy hour
For more than a few drinks

3 thoughts on “Add adnomination to your poetry

  1. Adnomination list: conclude, closet, occlude, exclusion, claustrophobia

    In closet darkness
    Trembling takes over
    To the exclusion of
    All else
    Seems the only
    Way to conclude
    The evening
    That began with such
    Promise of
    Being occluded
    With you.

  2. My favorite time-honored pastime
    Takes me far from the timetables and deadlines
    Set by others trying to control my time

    I sit in the park at lunchtime
    And suspend the hours
    Nipping, yapping, biting at my heels

    Clouds tumble into endless shapes
    Dragons, ducks, dogs abound
    In my daytime reverie

    I inhale the peacetime
    Knowing that all too soon
    My time will no longer be my own
    .-= Jenny Miller´s last blog ..Add Your Poetry =-.

  3. Two: light and mag.

    New Light

    Moonlight and your shining face.
    Your light voice murmuring
    magical words, that danced
    lightly through my imagination,
    their meaning magnified.

    And your eyes danced, alight.
    The image of love, I thought,
    but after all more probably delight
    in what you might term mischief,
    taking it lightly, but I, now
    seeing the light, call damage.

    Imagine! I thought you majestic,
    your head thrown back, your hair
    catching the light as you turned
    slightly towards the lightening sky
    as daylight dawned, soft magenta.

    It was a magnificent ride, a flight
    to unimaginable heights, away
    from the light of reality (that
    magisterial blight) but now
    the magnetic pull of gravity
    returns me to earth; I alight.

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