“Oh, that’s just rhetoric!”

Most people, I’d hazard, only hear about rhetoric in election years. Words don’t generally fare well in election years, and “rhetoric” is no exception. It has come to be defined as propoganda, and referring to anyone’s use of rhetoric is an  automatic insult.

As word nerds the world over already know, rhetoric is so much more than propoganda. Pretty much anything you say beyond “pass the sugar” employs some form of rhetoric…. and even “pass the sugar” is debatable. I took a course in grad school on rhetoric and still go all swoony… but I’ll try to control myself as I embark on a special Dispatches from Wordnerdia series (“special” meaning “not every day because, hey, we’re all busy…”) on rhetoric.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “No ‘effin way I’m wading through this chick’s explanation of rhetoric.” Because, OK, I do occasionally go on. And on.

Fear not! Because, although I will most certainly regret this, this special series is entitled “Rhetoric in Haiku!” Oh, I know, you can barely contain yourself!

Caveat time: please notice that I did not say “in Good Haiku”. Also I did not say, “in Accurate Haiku” or “in Haiku following all the traditional rules of haiku for example the whole reference to the seasons thingy.” Some of these might turn out well, who knows? I once wrote a smashing sonnet about a co-worker’s repeated absences for gory dental work.

But in general, please remember that a haiku about some obscure rhetorical device is NOT your most pressing concern today. I mean, sheesh!

We’re doing this alphabetically, so our first entry will be Alliteration! Stay tuned!

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Filed under Nerd Candy, Rhetoric

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