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Monday, June 24, 2013

The Poetry of Language

On my very first post in this blog, in February, 2012, I introduced myself with these words:

 I have always enjoyed words in both their sound and sense.  I enjoy the very sound of such words as
“windowsill,” “Cinderella,” “sassafras,” and, my recent favorite “hydrochlorothiazide”. 
Anyone out there who likes words just for their sounds?'
A few weeks ago at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, I was delighted that B.K. Loren and Juliet Patterson presented at The Eleventh Hour on Thursday, June 13.
They talked about using poetry in writing fiction and non-fiction. They pointed out that early language (both oral and written--as in pictographs) was rich in poetry and image. Poets are skilled in paying attention to both the sound and the meaning of each word.

Prose writers would do well to pay attention to the poetic line in the prose we write.
Poets are looking for the word with the emotional impact to match what they wish to convey.

Every word has a natural onomatopia-- the formation of the word by imitating sound.
     Common examples are "buzz." "tick-tock," and "bang."

B.K spoke of the emotional difference between the words:

BIG  and

The second conveys a greater vastness than the first.
It was fun to listen to these two writers confirm that liking the sound of words is a poetic attribute we all might seek to use. So I'll ask again:
Anyone out there who likes words just for their sounds?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I've been too busy writing to write

The past ten days I have been at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival for two classes.

I met some fascinating people and read some very fine writing by members of Sarah Saffian's memoir class and Eric Goodman's life essay class.

You'll hear more about it as I get more time to process lectures, lessons and events.

For now, I just want to recommend the experience to you. There are six one-week sessions and that many week-end session. It is well worth your time and money if you are or would like to be a writer.