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Poetry Prompt – 18: Oxymoron

I’m back! Sorry for my complete slack in writing poetry prompts this month. Time to get back into it…

Genuine Fake Watches by Rachel Fujita

Today’s poem will be all about oxymoron.

An oxymoron is (according to Google) “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.” Often this is displayed in a couple words (i.e. living dead, original copy, act naturally, jumbo shrimp, etc.), but it also can be displayed in a sentence or phrase. I love the example Google gives, which is from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Lancelot and Elaine:

“His honour rooted in dishonour stood. And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.”

Shakespeare often provides great examples of oxymoron. Here are some from Romeo and Juliet:

“Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O anything, of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?”

(For other excellent literary examples on how to use oxymoron, check out this site)

In today’s poem, express your subject through oxymoron. Think about a specific person, relationship, blessing, temptation, situation, or something from nature, and write about your subject in contradictory terms, and in doing so, reveal your subject’s complexity, or the angst/sublimity of your own emotions, or even humor.

If you feel inclined, share your poem or parts of your poem in the comments 🙂 I enjoy reading them!

Published inPoetryWriting Prompts

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