2.6.2022 – all vowel effects

all vowel effects
all the consonant effects
variations sound

In an interview in 1963, Conrad Aiken said about training himself to be a poet, he replied:

 I compelled myself all through to write an exercise in verse, in a different form, every day of the year. I turned out my page every day, of some sort -I mean I didn’t give a damn about the meaning, I just wanted to master the form – all the way from free verse, Walt Whitman, to the most elaborate of villanelles and ballad forms. Very good training. I’ve always told everybody who has ever come to me that I thought that was the first thing to do. And to study all the vowel effects and all the consonant effects and the variation in vowel sounds.

Reading poetry for the sounds, the form.

Just the sounds of the words in the most elaborate of villanelles and ballad forms.

Mr. Aiken wrote in his “The sun goes down in a cold pale flare of light

Good night! good night! good night! we go our ways,
The rain runs over the pavement before our feet,
The cold rain falls, the rain sings.
We walk, we run, we ride. We turn our faces
To what the eternal evening brings.

Mr. Aiken is buried here in Savannah’s St. Bonaventure Cemetery and is celebrated as ‘Savannah’s Own’ much like Johnny Mercer if maybe in a less celebrated way.

It was interesting to read in that interview that Mr. Aiken was asked, “I see you listed occasionally as a Southern writer. Does this make any sense to you?

And he replied, “Not at all. I’m not in the least Southern; I’m entirely New England. Of course, the Savannah ambiente made a profound impression on me. It was a beautiful city and so wholly different from New England that going from South to North every year, as we did in the summers, provided an extraordinary counterpoint of experience, of sensuous adventure. The change was so violent, from Savannah to New Bedford or Savannah to Cambridge, that it was extraordinarily useful. But no, I never was connected with any of the Southern writers.

The next question was, “In what way was the change from Savannah to New England “useful” to you?”

Shock treatment, I suppose: the milieu so wholly different, and the social customs, and the mere transplantation; as well as having to change one’s accent twice a year—all this quite apart from the astonishing change of landscape. From swamps and Spanish moss to New England rocks.

Mr. Aiken left out snow.

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