Word Obsessions

Looking back at the past two semester’s worth of poems, I realize that a few words keep popping up, over and over: gilt, press, skin, sloughing, etc.  I decided to run my last portfolio through a word counter, just for kicks, and I thought it was a really educational experience in regards to my poetry and the words I use most.  These are my repeated words, under a read more because the list is quite long:

48 the
34 you
31 of
29 to
21 your
20 and
19 a
15 in
15 her
14 that
14 she
11 into
11 for
9 with
8 his
8 from
7 where
7 s
7 is
6 my
6 he
5 while
5 t
5 one
5 on
5 it
5 i
5 home
5 down
5 but
5 are
4 years
4 so
4 no
4 man
4 if
4 have
3 would
3 when
3 wet
3 were
3 up
3 too
3 time
3 soon
3 remember
3 re
3 out
3 mother
3 more
3 make
3 ll
3 had
3 green
3 feeling
3 family
3 falling
3 can
3 before
3 back
3 as
2 wrist
2 will
2 what
2 weeks
2 want
2 under
2 turned
2 trailer
2 tiny
2 those
2 their
2 than
2 sweaty
2 still
2 spent
2 spend
2 smelled
2 skin
2 silver
2 secondhand
2 real
2 pull
2 pudgy
2 pressed
2 pants
2 over
2 old
2 muddy
2 money
2 millions
2 machine
2 like
2 let
2 left
2 leather
2 hers
2 hands
2 ground
2 grim
2 greedy
2 get
2 forward
2 fingers
2 finery
2 fell
2 feel
2 face
2 eyes
2 come
2 boy
2 behind
2 beef
2 at
2 ashy
2 around
2 across

I think this list really points to the use (arguably overuse) of articles and pronouns in my poetry, as well as the recurring themes in my poetry.  If you want to put a few of your poems through the repetition counter, here’s the link: http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp

I definitely want to highlight the importance of the “you” in most of my poetry, because I think that my poetry has a communicative quality, as if the speaker is pointing out the feelings or actions of the reader, or of a third party.  Like letters, my poems are often addressing a particular character through the voice of the speaker.

I also really like that the most used noun was “home,” because I’ve always felt that my poems speak to a feeling of being lost or far away from home, but my words themselves seem to deny this.

One Reply to “Word Obsessions”

  1. I ran my senior seminar collection through this, and its much too long to post, but I had nearly 60 “you”s, followed by “the.” I guess I need to trim more fat in my poetry. Most of my higher-impact words were only used between 1 and 3 times, which I found interesting. Certain words did pop up more times than I expected, like torso and truck. I guess I write more bodily poems than I thought I did.

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