Diction – Definition and Uses of Diction in Poetry

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found word.

-Robert Frost

We have come across numerous poems in our lifetime.
The poetry has unfolded its shape during the course. Poetry is not merely a soft eloquence of significant words but a language of heart and mind. Poetry is for all ages, intrinsically, it moves from one mind to another, from one thought to another.

When we talk of poetry, the first thing we notice is the ‘style of command.’ The significant command over the style and delivery of words is known as ‘diction.’ The term is taken from ‘dictionem’, a Latin phase. Simply, ‘diction’ equates to the ‘style of delivery’. This is the sole reason for our relationship with our beloved poets, authors and writers. The remarkable poem remains in our memories and a few stays back in the pages of our corner bookshelf. It is the choice of language that takes us to the thoughts and emotions of poets. It doesn’t bridge the gap but reconnects us through a stream of words and context.

Purpose of Diction

Let us not forget that a few intellectuals in the world cannot get over the mere uses of flowery language with a mellifluous voice and tune of orator and poets.

The selection of phrases and the delivery of language helps us to understand the principles of poets. The idea is to convey emotions amongst active listeners. Poetry is an emotion.

The miniature form of words signifies an emotional rollercoaster ride of a poet

As I said, poetry has been through several ages so before learning more on dictions, let us travel back to the past and visit some eras of poetry.

Renaissance Poetry

The artistic style of language in poetry was focusing on the development of human and education. The ancient Greek and Roman style of musical poetry had approached poets during the Renaissance period.

Elizabeth Poetry- This is otherwise known as the ‘Age of Shakespeare.’ The tremendous use of sonnet reminds us of old classicalism. The ‘lyrical style’ poetry was in fashion.

Metaphysical Poetry

In this era, the poetry was much more than the mere expression of words. The poets intimated their pieces of literature on nature, philosophy and love.

Cavalier Poetry

We all know that the people admired King Charles wholeheartedly. The poets wrote to celebrate his works. Most of the styles were filled with metaphors and dreamscapes. The poems of this period are categorized into political zones.

Romantic poetry

This period had brought forth some new ways of expressing individual minds. The ideas of poetry circled the personification of a person. Respect for creativity was not gone unnoticed. However, one could find a diminishing sense of logic in words.

Victorian period

Although romanticism did not disappear in this era, the conventional idea took a new frame. The words shaped the sharp images of poets; the emotions were not blown away with the words but found a cherished place at heart. The style of delivery anticipated a tussle between religion and science. This was an era of change as the rationality of men was emphasized over emotions. The projection of nature and romance was modified.

Modern poetry

This era projected the new-age poetry of the 20th Century. The fashion of writing and words went against all structured formats. Modern poetry was ready to set some refined and uncomplicated fabrications of styles.

Now let us examine this change briefly with an illustration in the characteristic of the poetry of two renowned poets- Alexander Pope and William Wordsworth.

The neo-classical years of poetry consisted of terms that delighted the decorum and mood of listeners. The limitation of poetry served the ‘intellectual’ class of society. The usage of refined words was fashionable. The plain words didn’t furnish poetry. The sacredness of poetry was utmost and the intellectual bourgeoisie wanted to preserve the beauty of poetry amongst themselves. Alexander Pope preferred the choice of embellished words over anything as it would sound pleasant to ears.

But with the arrival of William Wordsworth, the significant turn of miracles took place. Today, we enjoy the bliss of poetry because of its integrity. His immense contribution to the style of poetry has made it a literature of humanity. He raised his pen to break down the ornaments of language into something worth enjoying for the people of all ages, all classes. He considered poetry as a ‘language of the heart.’

Today, we take delightful pleasure in understanding poetries. As said, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ similarly, the language of poetry has been through distinctive phases and styles.

Today, the celebrations of poetry are the results of some great contributors.


This article was written by Tanmaya Das.
Tanmayan is a content writer for ArtHut.
She is an Indian writer, a student of mass communications and journalism in India.

She loves to write stories and tales.

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