I really, really, really love the word “hyperbole.” I just like the way it sounds. And when used in poetry, it can be the cause of more fun than a life-long pass to Disneyland. (THAT was a hyperbole, by the way).
Hyperbole Poems are written in overstated, figurative language. They are full of very large exaggerations, often used for emphasis. A hyperbole is a figure of speech and a type of irony that uses extreme exaggeration for emphasis or to make a point. [Irony: the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning]. Such statements are exaggerations but are not metaphors.
Obviously, such statements are not intended to be taken literally: “I’ve been waiting for an eternity for you to get here.”
Another case in point: “Hyperbole is the greatest thing in the history of the entire world!!!”
“I’ve told you a million times to …”
“She has a bazillion books.”
“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”
The 18th-century poet, Robert Burns, used hyperbole in his poem, “A Red, Red Rose.” In the poem he exaggerates about the degree of love he feels for his beloved. He says that he’ll love his “bonnie lass” until the seas go dry, the sun melts rocks, and the sands of life come to an end.
Here’s a great example in an excerpt (1st verse) of a hyperbole poem, “I Ate a Spicy Pepper” by Kenn Nesbitt – who has an excellent site for teaching poetry to kids (or anyone else, for that matter).
I ate a spicy pepper
From my brother on a dare.
The pepper caught my head on fire
And burned off all my hair.
My mouth erupted lava
And my tongue began to melt.
My ears were shooting jets of steam.
Well, you get the idea ~ there really are no special rules as to rhyme or rhythm with a hyperbole poem. You are the ruler of the world … of your poem, that is. (Threw in a little hyperbole for ya’).
So, what’s on your mind? Have fun with it!! S-T-R-E-T-C-H the truth and write a poem!!
Here’s a crazy little 4-line example from me. What do the rest of you out there have to offer?
The little girl said she had a dog as big as a cow.
I thought that was odd and I asked her how.
She said the dog ate as much as a horse.
Well, I thought, that explains things, of course.
© 2021 Stephanie Abney
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