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Creative Writing: Poetry: Rhetoric & Mode


The art and style of persuasion when referred to speech generally rather than writing or poetry exclusively. One way to think of rhetoric involves the implied presence of a speaker. The imagined speaker puts pressure on the poem's language to mirror the skewing of experience at the critical moment he or she has reached. The second way rhetoric relates to poetry its category of persuasive devices used to convince, teach, impress, or goad the listener. When we become aware of being worked on, rhetoric is what we call the sense of influence.  A third angle from which to view rhetoric would ask us to look for evidence of spoken speech standing out above the kind of speech we think of as written. Syntax is generally smoother, and trope and diction simpler in poems where the participation of rhetoric is strong---although complex intentions can produce more intricate designs (Kinzie, 1999).


The combination of syntax with rhythm, theme and line[...], it includes the poem's thematic range when themes are understood as channeling the diction and prosody. [...] Thus rhetoric or the sound and range of the voice speaking the poem can be read as a coordination in style produced by the general features of the poem's mode (Kinzie, 1999).

Resources for Rhetoric & Mode