Sunday, April 24, 2011

Inklings Prompt 4/18: Sound Poetry

WE RETURN with another Inklings prompt! I asked the group to do some weird stuff this week, and they were awesome about it.

We started out making lists of songs--preferably songs with lyrics.
  1. List 5 songs you've heard in the last week, voluntarily or otherwise.
  2. List 5 songs that are familiar to you. Think about songs your parents played to you, or songs that had an impact on you when you were young.
  3. List 5 songs that annoy you or bother you.
Next, I asked everyone to make a list of sounds that you can make with your mouth or your body. These were a lot of fun. Try to figure out some new ones you didn't know you could do, and don't be afraid to, you know, make noises.

Next, listen to The Mrs. Gets Her Ass Kicked by Tracie Morris, which you can find here. I nabbed this poem from a CUPSI lecture on sound in poetry. Thank you, thank you, CUPSI speaker!

We had a really great discussion about the piece. There's a lot of unusual stuff going on here, including the fact that Tracie Morris didn't actually write any words to make this poem. She borrows an existing song and pulls it apart, playing off its original context to talk about domestic violence. The extent to which the poem relies on performance kind of blew my mind. It would be a really difficult thing to put on the page, right? I think as slam poets, most of us work by writing all the poem's text and then constructing a performance around the words. It's easy to forget that performance can have meaning on its own.

At this point, we wrote on one of two prompts:
Write a poem using only lyrics from a song (or songs) on your list.
OR write a poem that incorporates the sounds you brainstormed earlier.
OR some combination of the two.
The crew came up with a wide range of collage-y song mashups and poems interspersed with sound effects. The consensus seems to be that Inklings isn't long enough to make something like that work, but I think it gave everyone something to think about.

Enjoy the rest of your National Poetry Writing Month!

> MP3 of The Mrs. Gets Her Ass Kicked by Tracie Morris
> More work by Tracie Morris on PennSound

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