This is my first attempt at leading a workshop--so please bear with me and don't stifle criticisms if they arise--I am not one to take offense
easily, if at all!
I have been an aspiring bard for all my literate life, so I have some confidence, at least, in the subject of poetry, which is also the subject of
Don't worry, though--I haven't planned any tedious dissertions on the advantages of iambic pentameters nor am I going to discuss the merits of the
English sonnet vs. the Italian sonnet. I most often write rhymed and metered verse, but I have also done quite a few free-verse poems; which I,
personally, think are harder to create in a lyrical yet meaningful form. The only things that have enabled me to do any good in the free-verse arena
are #1 personal soulful inspiration and #2 my love for words which inspires me to often play around with sounds and patterns.
What I am going to present, primarily, in this workshop, is the use of 'alliteration' in poetry. Alliteration is repetition of beginning consonant
sounds, and is one of the oldest forms of poetic styles--with a history which goes back even before the middle ages. I will cover the main points, in
general, but if anyone is interested further in alliteration, (because it is actually quite an interesting approach to poetry) I found a really good
website, called Linking Letters: A Poet's Guide to Alliterative Verse
Alliterative verse uses more than just similar consonant sounds to provide a lyrical mode of poetry; its flow is not stilted or constrained, but
rather is much like our normal pattern of conversant language. It uses the natural stresses and accented syllables inherent to the words
incorporated, and is often composed of lines which are pairs of phrases--a good place to use cliches, actually, if they're not the worn-out type.
The consonant sounds are not necessarily the beginning letters of each word, although they often are--but the key here is tying the dominant
syllable-sounds together with like consonant sounds. When I say 'like consonant sounds' I don't necessarily mean only c's or only f's--because
soft c's sound like s's and ph's also sound like f's. It is about sounds, not letters.
Here is an example of mine, which pretty much fits the category of alliterative verse, although I didn't do it properly according to what you might
read on the site I linked to, perhaps--it just came out of my pen one day, like most of my words, but it is definitely a study in the 'm' sound:
Marble masons make millions
On man’s mission to memorialize
With monstrous, meaningless, monuments
Meant to manufacture memories
By means of morbid maintenance
Here is an example, also, from a 'famous' poet:
Moonrise, June 19, 1876
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
I woke in the midsummer not-to-call night
in the white and the walk of the morning:
The moon, dwindled and thinned to the fringe
of a fingernail held to the candle,
Or paring of paradisaical fruit,
lovely in waning but lustreless
Stepped from the stool, drew back from the barrow
of dark Maenefa the mountain;
A cusp yet clasped him, a fluke yet fanged him
entangled him, not quit utterly.
This was the prized, the desirable sight,
unsought, presented so easily,
Parted me leaf and leaf, divided me
eyelid and eyelid of slumber.
'Beowulf' is also a classic example of alliteration--however it is too long to post here, and since it has been oft-translated, there are many
different samples to choose from. Do a search and find a couple if you want to read some really good and intense alliterative verse.
For anyone who is in an adventurous mood, try composing a snippet or two, using the sound of your choice, perhaps one of your initials or that of
someone you are preoccupied with...the inspiration for the choice can also, perhaps, provide the tone of your ode, as well. Don't worry about form
or rhyme; don't even worry about syllables or meter--just go straight from the heart, inspired by a thought and a sound--the rest might very well
fall into place without much focused effort on your part!
[edit on 11/13/2005 by queenannie38]