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Lilt: a theory of melody

A melody has to catch the ear. A lilt is an up and down movement that has to be asymmetrical or surprising in some way. It can go up, and ...

Monday, August 1, 2016

One Thing I Don't Like

One thing I don't like in poems, or like doing in poems myself, I've discovered, by writing deliberately bad poems, or translating imaginary bad poems from a poet I've invented, is a lyric speaker who is, well, lyrical. The speaker who is an idealized version of the poet's self and talks in hushed tones about weighty feelings inspired by nature or whatever. What I like is a poetic speaker who is myself but somewhat as I really am, maybe a lot worse than I would present myself socially to other people. Sometimes it is a dumb speaker, in a parodic poem. I'm just not interested in having other people identity with some ideal version of myself. They might identify with my bêtîse or something like that, or laugh along with me. I am wary of self-congratulatory tones. I don't even know where the circumflex goes.

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