Wednesday, October 25th

Wednesday, October 25th

  • Detail Question: What’s something a little monetary value that you would be heartbroken to lose?
  • We checked in about poetry workshop. Remember, our first workshop group’s poems will be due on Monday, September 6th. The first group is Angie, Jacob, Ian, and Peter.
  • We briefly went over the differences between narrative and lyric poetry and discussed how poems are rarely all one thing or all the other. “Her Kind,” for example, has elements of both the lyric and the narrative present (though it leans lyric)
  • We read our Poem of the Day, John Masefield’s “Cargoes” and talked about its sound techniques, focusing particularly on the contrast between euphony (pleasant sounds) and cacophony (less pleasant sounds) and the difference between assonance (repetition of vowel sounds) and consonance (repetition of consonant sounds) and how these effects are used within this poem. We also touched briefly on its meter. (More on that later!)
  • We contrasted “Cargoes” with Rita Dove’s “American Smooth” and talked about the subtlety in sound techniques and how they aren’t always obvious.
  • We capped off our discussion by talking about Yeats’ “The Lake Isle at Inisfree” and discussed how some of the sound techniques are obvious to the ear and the eye (rhyme and alliteration for example) but there are some, like the abundance of “l” sounds, that are less obvious. Remember — poets often think on the level of the sound, whereas fiction and nonfiction writers write on the level of the sentence.

Homework for Friday, October 27th

  • Read: A short excerpt from Dorianne Laux and Kim Addinizio’s excellent book A Poet’s Companion, entitled “Repetition, Rhythm, and Blues
  • Read: The following repetition-heavy poems: “On Greed” by Catherine Pierce, “Elegy” by Corey van Landingham, “Pandemic Ghazal” and “Transimigrant Ghazal” by Amit Majmudar
  • Write: Keep working on those poems! Here’s another exercise to try:

Write a poem that imitates John Masefield’s “Cargoes” by leaning hard into assonance (work those open vowel sounds!) for one or two stanzas, and then leans hard into consonance in the next stanza. What happens to the subject matter you deal with in both stanzas? Try to tailor the sonic effects your creating to evoke a particular emotion in your audience based on the subject matter you’re talking about.



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