About Poetry – Part 2.b

workstation for writing poetry

Sounds are the basis of poetry, not the pursuit of some glorious combination of them, but sounds as just a reality. The fact that it is an inexplicable reality should make us want to learn about sounds, because not wanting to is like being a blindfolded painter. A blind painter would be more respected, than someone who has no desire to lift an ear to poetry fully conscious of its fleeting sounds.

The Blind Poet Can Suddenly See

If our hypothetical blind poet suddenly gained sight, the first thing he would be made aware of is the structure of poetry, lines, and stanzas.

Followed by a more close examination revealing words, differing line lengths, same line lengths, rhyme, and refrain.

In his excitement he might delve deeper and see: syllables, types of rhyme, and repeating words, before whipping out the magnifying glass and finding: stressed and unstressed syllables, alliteration, assonance, consonance, breath pauses, perfect rhyme, general rhyme, identical rhymes, eye rhymes, and mind rhymes.

In a fit of beautiful madness he might go out and buy a microscope and lay the poem beneath the eye peace and checkout whats going on down there, and seeing: length of sounds, length of syllables, elision, masculine rhyme, feminine rhyme, dactylic rhyme, syllabic rhyme, imperfect rhyme, weak rhymes, semirhyme, oblique rhyme, half rhyme, pararhyme,

And at this point, our once blind poet begins to fall down the rabbit hole, and sees patterns and connections between sounds and how they slow or speed up reading, how also sounds can be made to mimic shapes, images, and other things. He would also see homophones and a multiplicity of meaning, how line breaks can make meaning where there was previously none without the structure. And last he would see symbolism, references, and phantom echoes.

I am sure like me and our once blind poet after writing/reading that list you are dizzy and in need of some sort of break from all this. As you can see sound in poetry is a dense topic. It is a hard thing to cover let alone find the angles of entry, but I will do my best to make it less nauseating from here on out.

Unfortunately for me, attacking that list from top down giving definitions will do little for the reader of this. By them selves most of these things are meaningless and only begin to have a passing usefulness when in context, so here goes.

Continues on Alliteration, assonance, and consonance post.



  • The Cost
    Sometimes love is not enough, sometimes all the rainbow doesn’t lift the heart from the basement of us,
  • An Era
    If ever there was an era to inspire a revival in poetry and scare us out of our anxiety then this horrid decade’s sense of impending doom should do,
  • We’ve Run Out of Some Paints
    I’d paint the page with sunflowers and marigolds, But Wordsworth’s nature is long in its grave. We have forgotten the cold mountain stream, The little birds in the blueberry bush, The worms wiggling beneath their hungry beaks, And the sound of the forest is deafening for us As the chainsaw’s roar over heavy machinery. For us nature is a conversation, A metaphor for human care and change, and a political questioning of the trees in search for meaning when we bludgeon a rose and all the beauty that it has stood for.
  • Politics
    lend me your ears I doubt that you would hear, So lend me your wallet And watch as the toilet
  • The Shut-in’s Regrets
    Go now and build your grave against your life’s pitiful cries, and when the end is drawing near
  • New Beasts
    Unlike all the beasts we have known, murders, thieves, and miscreants there now arises a wickedness that cannot be measured in neat units or fit into convenient little molds.

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