Kenning poetry

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A Viking riddle game

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The word 'kenning' comes from Old Norse (the language of the Vikings) and Anglo-Saxon (Old English, the language that present-day English comes from). It is a way of talking about something without mentioning its name. Technically, this indirect way of expressing things is known as circumlocution or roundabout speaking. In this unit students will explore the features of kennings, then write their own kenning poem.

Want more creative reading and writing tasks on different types of poetry? See Expand Your Mind with Poetry Bk 1. Available in hard copy book and digital ebook formats.

Subjects: | Resource Types: | Pages: 3 | Ages: 12-14

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About the Authors

Picture of Alan Chamberlain
Alan Chamberlain was educated in Australia (University of Sydney) and in France (University of Paris-Sorbonne). He taught French and English in New South Wales before teacing and studying at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He then worked as Associate Professor in French at the University of New South Wales and as Associate Professor in Language Education at the University of Brunei. He has also worked as an ESL/ESOL teacher trainer in Singapore and China. He is the author of a number of French textbooks in Australia and France and books on the teaching of poetry (with Vaughan Rapatahana) in New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Picture of Vaughan Rapatahana
Vaughan Rapatahana commutes between Hong Kong SAR, the Philippines and Aotearoa New Zealand. He is widely published in several genres in Maori, English and other languages. He was a semi-finalist in the Proverse Prize for Literature in 2009, highly commended in the 2013 erbacce-prize for poetry from more than 6000 entries, and won the inaugural Proverse Poetry prize in 2016, the same year as his poetry collection Atonement was nominated for a National Book Award in the Philippines. His latest poetry collection is ternion (erbacce-press, Liverpool, England). Vaughan has a PhD in existential philosophy from the University of Auckland on the novels of Colin Wilson, whom he has written extensively about and will lecture on at the Wilson conference in Nottingham in July, 2018. Vaughan is also a language critic and instigated and co-edited English language as Hydra and Why English? Confronting the Hydra (Multilingual Matters, UK, 2012, 2016). He has also written commentaries for Jacket2 (University of Pennsylvania), including a 2015–2016 series and a new series currently in progress.