Poetry Workshop: Sounds

Rebecca Balcárcel, author of Palabras in Each Fist, is on my campus today, reading and giving a workshop.

I originally intended simply to step in and see which of my students were in attendance, but I stayed.

Rebecca ended with “ripples go out from you living in the world.” She has taken images and metaphors and made them an integral part of her everyday conversation, not just her poetry.

4 tips:
Play with sound
Overflow with voice
Employ images
Mind the selfish reader

from Play with Sound:
Mary Oliver says, “Listen to these.”
Be quiet!
Shut up!
The sounds are very different. Think of linguistics. The t and p are stops and they are abrupt…

Don’t just look at meaning. Also listen to the sounds of words. (One of my students wrote “listen to sound, not meaning.” This was NOT what the poet was encouraging.)

Sound Screw-up
Replace a word below to ruin the lovely sounds Frost uses.
“Whose woods these are I think I know”
entire poem very regular, rhythm, pattern, sounds
He had an ear for the sounds.

You can develop an ear too.

“Whose woods these are I think I know”
grove remember
wood lot am familiar with
forest am aware
The replacements don’t work, partly because of the letters.

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