Chicken and rhetoric

What I was really craving last night – and had defrosted a small flock of chicken thighs in anticipation – was Chicken Jeera, but too late discovered that the nub of ginger in my fridge was mummified beyond reconstitution. Claudia Roden to the rescue! Her Mediterranean Cookery has been endlessly helpful to me in the past, and last night she gave me Pollo al Rosmarino, which instructs that a couple of sprigs of rosemary and a couple of halved cloves of garlic be heated in a mixture of butter and oil, to which you add and brown your chicken pieces (I had 6 thighs), and then throw in a glass of white wine, some salt and pepper, and turn it down to simmer for half an hour. Very nice it was, molto facile; eaten with potatoes, onion and zucchini cubed and cooked in lemon, butter and garlic, with a bit of fresh asparagus, it was just the thing to end the day.

Anyone who read Jill Tedford Jones’ article about Elizabethan sonnets and country and westen lyrics may have been as intrigued as I by the sheer number of rhetorical devices named in the piece. We use them in our poetry all the time, without necessarily knowing what they’re called. Tedford Jones speculates that “the student in Queen Elizabeth’s day could probably easily identify and create more than a hundred such devices,” while I could define perhaps half a dozen. So I’m going to work through these ones, consciously injecting one or two (devices, not terms) into new poems, and who knows, if you’re really unlucky, perhaps make my conversation more polysyllabic from now on. I found a couple of helpful sites – American Rhetoric and The Forest of Rhetoric – to help me get started. Here’s my Greek chorus:

anaphora
anastrophe
anadiplosis
antanaclasis
antimetabole
antithesis
apostrophe
appositive
chiasmus
ellipsis
epanalepsis
epistrophe
hyperbaton
hyperbole
metonymy
onomatopoeia
parenthesis
paronomasia
polyptoton
polysyndeton
syllepsis
symploce
synecdoche

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0 Responses to Chicken and rhetoric

  1. Ariel Gordon says:

    I know this was mostly just inspired self-deprecation, but I heard and greatly appreciated and was heartened by this snippet.

    Thanks for posting it…

  2. Rhona McAdam says:

    Thanks Ariel, nice way of putting it. It is a reassuring statement.