E is for Epeolatry

Epeolatry …

Similar to idolatry and iconodulism, epeolatry literally means the worship of words. It derives from ἔπος épos, which unlike λόγος lógos more specifically means word in Greek, and was apparently coined in 1860 by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Let’s be clear here, we’re writers–well, a lot of us are writers–and we spend an inordinate amount of time searching for that elusive PERFECT word. He said. Said? We can do better than “said.” He screamed, he cried, he wailed, he whispered, he faltered … his voice caught….

It’s sterile ink we intend to use to catch a reader and hold him or her fast, entranced, mesmerized. One of my favorite passages is from The Wind in The Willows:

The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spell-bound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.
And the poetry form?


In poetry, enjambment or enjambement, is the breaking of a syntactic unit (a phrase, clause, or sentence) by the end of a line or between two verses. It is to be contrasted with end-stopping, where each linguistic unit corresponds with a single line, and caesura, in which the linguistic unit ends mid-line. The term is directly borrowed from the French enjambement, meaning “straddling” or “bestriding”. Enjambment is sometimes referred to as a “run-on line.”

Humble supplicant, I bow before this flickering altar

Hemorrhaging moment and emotion, fingers caress pitiless

Plastic, wringing prayer from QWERTY as I, slave to

Unseen intonations, transcribe the banter of the universe.

No one seems aware that “word” is a four-letter vow

Prying me from human solace and compelling its adherent

Write! The hour fading, time is not so boundless, and my fickle muse

Grows restless—no longer stalking, but wandering, trailing the nectar

I desire beyond all other seeking.

What Earthly joy compares to the novelty

Of a primordial word revived? Like a mislaid

Lover to be inveigled and cajoled, flattered and coaxed;

Come, most dearest, coil your form from my pen,

Bleed blissfully caught within my ink.

2 Replies to “E is for Epeolatry”

  1. Both new words for me today. Great E, yet it feels like you’re just limbering up, so I’m looking forward to the rest of your poetic AtoZ

  2. Wow, such big words! And yes, I do believe a lot of us have a love for, if not worship, words. Thanks for you definition, though I’ve not been able to pronounce the Greek. 🙂
    Thanks for the RT on Twitter for my A to Z.

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)

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