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Poetry in performance 2 sound

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Draft slide show for lectures I do in English 218: Poetry in Performance at The College of Saint Rose.

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Poetry in performance 2 sound

  1. 1. Poetry in Performance: Sound Reading and performing poems in public. Daniel Nester, The College of Saint Rose, 2006-2015
  2. 2. “The lyric poem walks the line between speaking and singing. (It also walks the line between the conventions of poetry and the conventions of grammar.) Poetry is not speech exactly—verbal art is deliberately different than the way that people actually talk—and yet it is always in relationship to speech, to the spoken word.” —Edward Hirsch, from How to Read a Poem
  3. 3. When you have a poem for performance, read it aloud. Listen to it. Does it have a rhythm? What does the language sound like? Are there rhymes, similar sounds?
  4. 4. Let’s talk about the way the poem sounds. Can you pick up any alliteration?
  5. 5. Alliteration: the initial sounds of a word, beginning either with a consonant or a vowel, are repeated in close succession.
  6. 6. Alliteration: the initial sounds of a word, beginning either with a consonant or a vowel, are repeated in close succession. Examples: banked fires blaze Nate never knows Peter Piper picked a peck of pickles
  7. 7. Perfected poem, powerful punchlines Pummeling petty powder puffs in my prime Quite quaint quotes keep quiet it’s Quannum Quarrelers ain't got a quarter of what we got, uh Really raw raps, risin up rapidly Riding the rushing radioactivity —Blackalicious, “Alphabet Aerobics”
  8. 8. Did you pick up any assonance?
  9. 9. Assonance: the vowel sound(s) within a word that matches the same sound in a nearby word or words, but the surrounding consonant sounds are different.
  10. 10. Assonance: vowel sound within a word matches the same sound in a nearby word, but the surrounding consonant sounds are different. Examples: then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
  11. 11. Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked He’s so mad, but he won’t give up that easy, no He won’t have it, he knows his whole back’s to these ropes It don't matter, he’s dope He knows that, but he’s broke He’s so stagnant that he knows When he goes back to his mobile home, That’s when it’s back to the lab again yo
  12. 12. Did you pick up or hear any rhyme? Rhyme: correspondence of sound between words or the endings of words, especially when these are used at the ends of lines of poetry.
  13. 13. “Pick up” means hear—do not just look at the words for similar word structures. Rhyme means “sound alike,” and it’s not always at the end of a line. Not in free verse, to be sure, as well as received forms.
  14. 14. Example: who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?
  15. 15. Near-rhyme—also called slant rhyme, off- rhyme, imperfect rhyme, feminine rhyme. The sounds are similar, but not exact. Examples: home and come; close and lose. Perfect rhyme—exact correspondence in vowel and consonant sound. Examples: skylight and highlight; believe and bereave
  16. 16. Many forms, like sonnets, have rhyme schemes. Here’s an example.
  17. 17. Many forms like sonnets have rhyme schemes. My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun, Coral is far more red, than her lips red, If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun: If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head: I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks, And in some perfumes is there more delight, Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know, That music hath a far more pleasing sound: I grant I never saw a goddess go, My mistress when she walks treads on the ground. And yet by heaven I think my love as rare, As any she belied with false compare. —William Shakespeare, Sonnet 130
  18. 18. Forms, like sonnets have rhyme schemes My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun, A Coral is far more red, than her lips red, B If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun: A If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head: B I have seen roses damasked, red and white, C But no such roses see I in her cheeks, D And in some perfumes is there more delight, C Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. D I love to hear her speak, yet well I know, E That music hath a far more pleasing sound: F I grant I never saw a goddess go, E My mistress when she walks treads on the ground. F And yet by heaven I think my love as rare, G As any she belied with false compare. G
  19. 19. Rhymes are fun to play with. Skeltonic verse, also tumbling verse. Strickly defined as verses with two or three stresses arranged sometimes in falling and sometimes in rising rhythm, it also refers to more than three rhymes in a row.
  20. 20. An example of Skeltonic verse from the man himself: Tell you I chyll, If that ye wyll A whyle be styll, of a comely gyll That dwelt on a hyll: But she is not gryll, For she is somewhat sage And well worne in age; for her visage It would aswage A mannes courage. —John Skelton, “The Tunnyng of Elynour Rummyng”
  21. 21. Skeltonic verse: more than three rhymes in a row She thought my name was Barry, I told her it was Gary She said she didn't like it so she chose to call me Barry She said she’d love to marry, my baby she would carry And if she had a baby, she’d name the baby Harry Her mother’s name is Baby, which is really quite contrary Her face is very hairy, and you can say it’s scary So isn’t not every, her father’s a fairy His job is secretary, in some military He throws them to an electric camp that wasn't voluntary His daughter's name is Sherry, his sons are Tom and Jerry Jerry had the flu but it was only temporary Back in January, or was it February? But every time I say this rhyme it makes me kinda weary It’s only customary to give this commentary —from “Roxanne Roxanne” by UTFO
  22. 22. Rhymes do not always appear at the end of words. who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices?
  23. 23. No sounds are random sounds in a poem. Pay attention to your ear, your mouth’s shapes, as you read a poem aloud.
  24. 24. Queen-Anne’s-Lace Her body is not so white as anemone petals nor so smooth—nor so remote a thing. It is a field of the wild carrot taking the field by force; the grass does not raise above it. Here is no question of whiteness, white as can be, with a purple mole at the center of each flower. Each flower is a hand’s span of her whiteness. Wherever his hand has lain there is a tiny purple blemish. Each part is a blossom under his touch to which the fibres of her being stem one by one, each to its end, until the whole field is a white desire, empty, a single stem, a cluster, flower by flower, a pious wish to whiteness gone over—or nothing. William Carlos Williams, c. 1921
  25. 25. Queen-Anne’s-Lace Her body is not so white as anemone petals nor so smooth—nor so remote a thing. It is a field of the wild carrot taking the field by force; the grass does not raise above it. Here is no question of whiteness, white as can be, with a purple mole at the center of each flower. Each flower is a hand’s span of her whiteness. Wherever his hand has lain there is a tiny purple blemish. Each part is a blossom under his touch to which the fibres of her being stem one by one, each to its end, until the whole field is a white desire, empty, a single stem, a cluster, flower by flower, a pious wish to whiteness gone over—or nothing. William Carlos Williams, c. 1921

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