THIS BLOG IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL. PLEASE ENJOY WHAT IS HERE, AND DO LEAVE A COMMENT IF YOU WISH. NORTH CAROLINA'S NEW POET LAUREATE IS CATHY SMITH BOWERS. SHE WILL SOON HAVE HER OWN WEBSITE THROUGH THE NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL SITE. I WILL BE SHIFTING MY ATTENTION TO HERE, WHERE I AM, (SEE SIDEBAR)USING IT TO DRAW ATTENTION TO WRITERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES ATTENTION. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT ME THERE. For a video of the installation ceremony, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xAk6fOzaNE.
Go to http://www.yourdailypoem.com/, managed with finesse by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, who says, "Our intent is to make visitors to Your Daily Poem aware of the joy and diversity of poetry."
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
ST. PATRICK'S DAY: The Sound of Green
This morning I posted on my "Here, Where I Am " a poem by Thomas Hardy, "Neutral Tones." I noticed yet again how he uses language to sound the "tone" of the poem, the emotional center of it. Words like "chidden," "bitter," and "stood," for example, in the first stanza set up the way we hear this poem of desolation.
WE stood by a pond that winter day, And the sun was white, as though chidden of God, And a few leaves lay on the starving sod, —They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.
Just listen to the vowels here. Most of them fall in the lower range, coming close to the shudder vowel, the ugh, the lowest register our voices can reach. The chest voice, as a singer would call it. The vowel scale rises from that all the way to the top of the throat. Try moving up it aloud, beginning with the shudder vowel, rising, rising.... The long eeeee at the top goes right to your head, doesn't it? Like the sound of green. (The long "e" and "a" are in Hardy's poem, too, of course, but they are muted by vowels in the lower register.)
How does "green "sound? On St. Pat's Day, that's a worthy question. So, I'm inviting anyone--student, teacher, parent, child--to send me a poem that sounds like "green." You don't even have to be Irish to give it a try!
The first poem posted in the comments section will be given its own post tomorrow, with special commendation. The others? They'll be posted, too. So don't miss out on this chance to be part of the "singin' o' the green."
I've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina since 1968, though I'm a native of SW Georgia. My paternal grandmother was born in the Blue Ridge, and I grew up wanting to live here. Where I am.
I've published five collections of poetry, the most recent 4 being with LSU Press, and have published poetry in magazines ranging from The Atlantic Monthly to Appalachian Heritage. But I also hike, bang pots and pans around in my kitchen, and love several dogs who leave fur all over my carpets. I write poetry because it's my way of singing back to the world both within and without.