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:
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:
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