The Anaphora controversy ~ Tallis Steelyard

Reblogged from Tallis Steelyard:


Do many now remember the notorious Anaphora controversy? At the risk of causing insult, I’ll merely remark, for those who have advanced far beyond such techniques, that Anaphora is the deliberate repetition of the first part of a sentence for artistic effect.

Indeed I could do no worse that quote from a poem I penned at the time which perhaps illustrates the technique.


Why must I suffer?

Why must I go to the bother?

Why must I write the agenda?

Why must I whose means are slender, pour endless drinks into the truculent member

Why must I judge to a nicety

How to offend everybody as I run this accursed poetical society.

Indeed I might as well quote it, I wasn’t paid for it then and I don’t suppose I’ll be paid for it now.

But still, the controversy did indeed rage fiercely within poetical circles. In retrospect I don’t know why, it’s not as if it was a novel technique. It’s one of the oldest; well hallowed by time and used by orators and rhetoricians as well as poets.

Now a wiser man than me once commented than in any dispute, the less important the issues, the more intense the feelings generated. So you can immediately see how those poets with an assured private income and not enough to do should throw themselves body and soul into this dispute. I, like the other working poets, with patrons to pander to and a living to earn stood on the sidelines of the controversy, at least at the beginning. But slowly, inevitably, we were drawn in. I was perhaps one of the last to hold out. At the time I was secretary of the Society of Minor Poets. It isn’t a particularly onerous post, nor, to be fair, is it a particularly well paid one. The remuneration being limited to a bottle of wine presented to your spouse at the annual general meeting. Thus there was never any real competition for the task.

Continue reading at Tallis Steelyard

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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3 Responses to The Anaphora controversy ~ Tallis Steelyard

  1. jwebster2 says:

    I always tell poets to ‘play nicely together’ but it doesn’t often work

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lyn Horner says:

    A droll tale of pomposity and its consequences. Great fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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