KENNINGS What is a Kenning? A Kenning is a compressed metaphor or description using two nouns to describe a subject, place or object.
Examples - Using a Kenning in a Sentence • Story keeper - Book. • Word fisher - Poet. • Web maker - Spider. • Sky climber - Mountain. • Kenning is used in poetry to create different effects, They can be combined to make a poem called a Kennings in which a collection of kenning lines are combined to describe an object. • Why don't you try writing a poem using a kenning and enter it into one of our poetry competitions. • For information on poetry terms other than a kenning visit our poetry glossary – poetry terms
There are many examples of kennings in Beowulf and they are used with great variety throughout the story. Some more examples include: “helmet bearers” for warriors, “earth-hall” for burial mound or barrow, “stone-cliffs” for rocks, wall, cliffs of stone, “stout-hearted” for bravery and “shield-warrior” for fighter behind the shield. Many of these words appear in other readings of Anglo Saxon poetry.
Beowulf: The Poetry of Beowulf • The kenning is another poetic device that was used by the oral poet. • Examples of kennings from Beowulf: • gold-shining hall= Herot • guardian of crime= Grendel • strong-hearted wakeful sleeper= Beowulf • cave-guard and sky-borne foe= dragon
Beowulf: The Poetry of Beowulf Create modern-day kennings for things you see around you. • giver of words • word-wand • ? • ? • ? • ?