Imagination's inspiration ... An Anglo-Saxon zoomorphic mount from the Staffordshire hoard
Poster poems: Alliteration
Generally speaking, these Poster poem challenges are either topic-based or call on you to work in a set form. This month, we're going to try something a bit different; the focus is on a technique, but not a form as such.
Of course, Anglo-Saxon poetry wasn't all gloom and grandeur; the riddles may not be side-splittingly slapstick, but they do display the more playful part of the poet's palette. This more light-hearted aspect of alliteration is a fine feature of many tongue-twisters, such as She sells sea shells by the sea shore. It is also frequently found in the efforts of Emily Dickinson and the genuinely brilliant Gwendolyn Brooks.
In the wake of the Norman conquest, the native alliterative tradition faced stiff competition from French and Italian rhyming verse forms, but it never fully disappeared. Indeed, the 14th century saw a fine flowering of poetry that drew heavily on the old order of things; poems such as Pearl, Cleanness, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Vision of Piers Ploughman echoed the earlier English poets, while introducing a new variety and freshness to the alliterative line.http://www.guardian.co.uk/