Even if you've never heard of Kennings, you've probably used them, with 'four-eyes' or 'book-worm'. Kennings are usually two nouns that can be used to represent a person, thing or place, such as 'pen-pusher' for an office worker. Anglo-Saxon, Celt and Norse poetry often used Kennings. For example, the sea could be called 'whale-road' or a sword could be 'blood-icicle’. In fact, Kennings are named after the Nordic kenna eitt við ('to express one thing in terms of another'). They often used alliteration, assonance, or rhyme to add colour to these. My good friends at the Plymouth-based Waterfront Writers introduced me to Kennings. and I have come up with some examples for 'writer'. I hope you’ll enjoy these too!
These Kennings were a group exercise, with contributions from:
Waterfront Writers are one of Plymouth’s oldest creative writing groups, starting more than twenty-one years ago at the Barbican Theatre. After three years associated with the theatre the group move location a number of times, growing and changing, until arriving at its present location, Swarthmore Hall. As this building was founded by Quakers, the group decided that it would adopt a “family friendly” approach to all its work. To this end members’ work does not contain profanity, bad language, blatant sexual content or extreme violence.
Despite these apparent restrictions, the group has achieved considerable success with performances in both the theatre and at street festivals, readings in libraries, community support activities and open mic events. The group has also had a number of anthologies published, the latest of which, Waves of Sound, is still available on Amazon (search Waterfront Writers Plymouth). Individually, members of the group are frequently published both in print and online, several have had books published, including non-fiction, novels and verse.
Nick Spargo, Chairperson, Waterfront Writers