10:32 a.m. — Walnut Creek
listening to whatever my mum is playing on her CD player in the other room — ah, Leonard Cohen
Hi everyone. Sound is my favourite type of imagery and technique. As imagery, sound is more immediate than even visual, for me. As a technique — rhyme, external and internal; sound colour, or timbre — I find it the most challenging and fun to incorporate.
Before the fun, a chart that helped me when I was training my ear for writing:
RESONANCE n, m, ng, z, zh lingering,droning, vibrant effects
HARSHNESS k, g, hard c throaty sounds, for dissonance and cacophony
PLOSIVENESS b, p, t, d, g, k, percussive sounds
Today, we can go in many directions, so long as sound is the primary focus. 1) The first possibility is to make sound imagery the primary imagery in your poem. So, we’re thinking whispers, sirens, bells, specific music genres, yelling — you know: things readers will hear as soon as they read the sound.
2) Next possibility, is to write a poem where you use rhyming techniques. If working with end rhymes horrifies you, play with internal rhymes. Great fun, I assure you.
3) Or, try a poem where you use the technique of onomatopoeia, words that sound like what they describe — buzz, whoop, zap, smoosh. You may wish to throw all caution to the winds and try a poem that is all onomatopoeic. Some of the most fun I have had was writing a poem ‘Outside the Woodshed’ which is completely onomatopoeic words.
4) For a more specific prompt try this:
Sit for five to ten minutes with your back to an open window. Using only sounds as your clues, describe everything happening outside–don’t be tempted to turn around. Then turn around and add the things you missed, but should have heard.
You can change this up, by changing your location. Go into your yard, if you have one, and sit facing the house. Repeat instructions for writing. Or, go to a mall, park, any place you think of with sounds, and sit so you are not watching the scene, and follow the above instructions. Once you have your piece of prose, then, as with any found piece, pull out the words, images, and phrases you like, decide the story and point of view you want and write a poem.
5) A final possibility is to use music as a source for your poem. This is a type of prompt that produces very different poems from my usual, when I try it. The sound and rhythm of the music chooses the story and sometimes, the form. This is an exercise that, if you like it, you can go to town finding your own music. The only rule: no words. That’s where you come in. I suggest pieces roughly four minutes long; if you have a longer piece set a timer, or if you have been grabbed by inspiration, write on. This is a slightly different take on a freewrite. Like free-writing, you are not worrying about form, or grammar, or sense. You may find a story as you write. I often write scenes my mind sees when listening to a piece, but if what you get is a collection of lines, or images, that’s wonderful. More resources for your pool.
Those should keep you out of trouble and off the streets. I have been enjoying the summer poems that have been coming in and am heading from this to read last week’s crop.
Happy writing, all.