sound as a writer

My relationship to sound as a human being informs my relationship to sound as a writer. I’m sensitive to auditory stimuli over which I have no control, so I often listen to music, which is a source of inspiration in the emotions/moods it evokes. 

In terms of sound on the page, I tend to shy away from considering rhythm and meter, probably because I’m tone-deaf. When I write, sonic spaces are also not a priority, I think, because I am still learning how to write poems. I’m not good at multi-tasking, so “sound moves” are often inadvertent, things I notice almost as afterthoughts, having reached a line’s end. When I do consider sound during a line, or going back into a line, it’s often in relation to word choice: alliteration, assonance, consonance. Reading as a writer, I love learning to identify sound effects: the dissonance of “soft” and “hard” letters/words; the silence of white space and pacing of line breaks; of terms and techniques not in my vocabulary—the subtlety of them all. This semester, I’d love to subvert my own sonic expectations.

In my own poems, I’m used to building from a narrative or speaking through a persona, so when I began entirely from sound, I actually couldn’t tell if the poem could work for a reader. I remember Lytton saying last semester that readers are “blindfolded and guided” through a poem, but I guess I’m unsure of how much to blind and how much to guide. It may seem silly to ask how much one has to be aware of the world of a poem one has created, but this is a question I find myself asking in all my poems.

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