20 September 2006

palindromic consonance

I'm not to first to notice this technique; I think Kenneth Burke named it in an essay somewhere.

The word stifle has four consonants: s, t, f, and l, and they appear in that order.

A poet might write stifle and shortly thereafter write lifts or lofts, words that use stifle's consonants in reverse order: l, f, t, and s.

A poet might shuffle the consonants: floats; or leave one out: futile.

Sometimes words do it internally: turret goes round and round.

Can you hear the echoes made?

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