A little while back, a Monday Pubtalk discussion opened the door, inviting us to share our favorite poetic devices—you know, things like metaphor, alliteration, assonance—all those wonderful tools you keep in your poetry bag to make your work come alive.
One device that came up and generated a good amount of discussion and “likes” was synesthesia (or synaethesia if you are on the other side of the pond). Eons ago, in 2013, I hosted a MTB that spoke to synesthesia and it elicited some amazing poetry—and a great response, with 50 of you linking up.
So today, let’s take another look at this creative poetic toy. I’m going to plagiarize my own prompt to discuss exactly how to go about this. To start with, I’m going to dip into the world of medicine.
There is a neurological condition (called synesthesia) in which the patient confuses sensations. For example, he may taste a fragrance, or hear a flower. Have you ever touched a rainbow or seen a toccata?
The Poetry Foundation defines synesthesia as “a blending or intermingling of different senses in description.” In the world of art, painters make a conscious choice of color to represent feeling or sensation. One might choose red to express rage or a loud noise. Or gray to depict depression. Practitioners of Therapeutic Touch instruct their clients to choose a color that represents the outcome they hope to achieve. How about words? Do you associate colors or, perhaps, sound with certain words? What color is birth? Growth? Dying? What chord would you chose to depict joy? Grief?
I invite you to settle in for a half hour or so and check out your favorite poet or visit the work that was posted for that prompt in May, 2013 to get a sense of the wonder that synesthesia is capable of producing. Then look around you, go for a walk if the weather is kind (not so here) and allow your imagination to romp through the sensate world to come up with new ways of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching things.
For today’s prompt, I invite you to play with mixing up those senses. It’s not necessary to write a complete poem in synesthesia, just include an incident in which you defy the sense or senses that you choose.
If you are able to participate, here’s the drill:
• Write your poem and post it on your blog or website.
• Copy the direct URL to your poem and access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post.
• Paste the URL and your name in those spaces Mr. Linky offers you.
• Come on over to the Pub and visit with your fellow poets. Sip, taste their poetry and comment on your impressions.
• Especially try to visit those who have taken the time to read and comment upon your work.
• Enjoy your journey through the senses—that marvelous gift through which we are able to enjoy this world of ours.
When you visit the previous post on synesthesia, if you see a poet you know but have missed around the Pub, why not take a minute and invite them to join in?! Let’s aim for 50 more poems that are sensory delights.
Now, just for fun, I’m going to put up poems by two dVerse Poets who most of you know and miss: Brian and Pamela. They have given their permission!
Brian Miller, used with permission
as her worn dress
in the poem she weaves
crowning the head of her king
mothers milk hugs
into his neck
takes his glasses
in a slow song,
as the womb
of his chest
feel the tear
as i take their
page from my notebook,
fold it over
& place it on my tongue
as a hot coal
i’ll speak, today
that it might be
get up from the park bench
& leave, a different way than
faint hints of paint
on my lips.
A Small Corner
Pamela Sayers, used with permission
Small stones of noise
where sighs of syllables
slip through the walls,
my body bends within
wisps of warmth’s cradle
as the night breeze kisses
the windowsill; I see the rooftop
greet a tree’s crown, bowing
to royalty; the shimmer
of onyx-pupil stars sitting
in sculptured universe is
only a small corner of mine.
This is Victoria, happy to be with you today and looking forward to tasting your poetry.