Monday, 19 April 2021

Ellen Adair : part four

How important is music to poetry?

To me, it’s crucial to my enjoyment. I feel that poems are meant to be heard aloud, and that the sound of a poem should deepen its meaning. The words chosen are ideally an onomatopoeia for what they describe. But I think most words are, naturally. Their sound is complementary to what they mean. I’ve often likened the meaning of a word to its body and its sound to its soul: related, but different.

So, generally I enjoy poems that employ rhythm--or meter, which is only one kind of rhythm--or rhyme, or other kinds of interwoven musicality. In my own writing, I frequently favor the use of resonance more than outright rhyme, which can feel so on-the-nose in my struggle to be a twenty-first-century human. Resonance, to me, is ending lines with words that pick up some of the sounds of its companion. Or it’s picking up rhymes not on line endings. Assonance is always my favorite; alliteration can feel like a club, sometimes, but assonance is both more musical and less intrusive. (And I couldn’t help but use it there.) And rhythm, the patter of words together, even if they’re not metrical, is key. 

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