Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Growing lines . . .

 Maximizing Meaning (maybe)

will fit on this
single line segment?

Will I maximize my
communication if I
use multi-syllable words that
squeeze sounds into rippling melodies,
or do my lines mean more if I first choose
one small word and then one more and one more still –
assembling chunks of consonants, sharp sounds sustained?
What of meaning?  Is sense directly proportional
to size or sound of syllables?  When we were in high school
we quoted “antidisestablishmentarianism” –
phonating with care its 12 syllables (of 28 letters) –
as the longest word we knew but we did not know what it means.  We know
two straight lines may intersect in at most one point, but how do lines meet minds?

This poem is a growing snowball -- with each line containing one more syllable that the preceding. Growing and melting snowballs and other constrained verse forms have been developed by the OULIPO, a group of writers, mathematicians (and occasional others) who craft actual and potential literature.

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