Five-Phrase Friday (8): Simile, Metaphor and Mood

Welcome to Five-Phrase Friday, a weekly spotlight on English phrases I enjoy. This week we revisit poetic turns of phrase with a random selection of gems that demonstrate ways to write about birds, the sea, and sex, and how to group unexpected ideas together.

From these passages alone, can you detect the mood of each poem?

Do you recall the difference between simile and metaphor? Can you spot one of each?

1. "in profuse strains of unpremeditated art"
     - "To a Skylark" by Percy Shelley

2. "wine-dark sea"
     - The Iliad of Homer 
       (his legendary status merits the change in preposition)

3. "and be simple to myself as the bird is to the bird"
     - "Birds" by Judith Wright

4. "sailing toward the iceberg of her nakedness"
     - "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes" by Billy Collins

5. "hair, glacier, flashlight"
     - "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning" by Adrienne Rich

Great phrases often point to great larger works. I encourage you to read the whole poems–and poetry collections–whence these snippets arise. Hmm… Seems I’m feeling a little Elizabethan, or at least archaic (surprise, surprise). Maybe next time I’ll feature bawdy Shakespearean insults. What do you think?

For passages of poetry from previous posts (hey, that’s how it came out), see Five-Phrase Friday (1) and Five-Phrase Friday (2).

Free your phrases this week. Word.

7 thoughts on “Five-Phrase Friday (8): Simile, Metaphor and Mood

  1. He’s a lot of fun. This one comes originally from his 1998 collection Picnic, Lightning. Univ of Pittsburgh Press. It was republished as a selected poem in Sailing Alone Around the Room. Random House. 2001. Apparently, there’s also a collection by the same title: Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes. Picador. 2000.

    I have the first two books, plus:
    The Art of Drowning. Univ of Pittsburgh Press. 1995.
    Questions About Angels. Univ of Pittsburgh Press. 1999.
    Nine Horses. Random House. 2002.
    Ballistics. Random House. 2008….and I think that’s it. Yeah, JUST those. 😉

    Picnic, Lightning is still my favorite–so many great, cheeky and hilarious poems.
    Victoria’s Secret
    On Turning Ten
    the Emily Dickinson poem (includes excerpts from hers), and, of course, the immortal
    I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey’s Version of “Three Blind Mice”

    I tried to write a parody of that last one, but it’s hard to parody already-great comedy.

    Collins served as a judge at a 1999 Mount Holyoke College poetry contest I attended, and I said hi again in 2003 at his reading at John Carroll University.

    A phrase from his poem “Driving Myself to a Poetry Reading” appears in my Five-Phrase Fridays (1).


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  6. Pingback: Five-Phrase Friday (1): The Poetry Politic | Philosofishal by Carrie Tangenberg

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