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Loving Alliteration #ROW80

February 26, 2015 , , , ,




I am amazed to find such a vast network of poets and poetry exchanges on the internet. This #ROW80 has enlightened me, encouraged me, and introduced me to resources I might never have discovered on my own.  One of the most interesting sites I have found for writers is Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie.  This group creates a daily writing challenge of a different nature.  Today a short story about an imaginary dinner party in 500 words or less stimulates the imagination, but other days poetry or fairy tales are featured.  The regular assignments are all geared toward teaching participants to improve their skills, exactly like this literary soiree in which we find ourselves.  I believe the best result for me here is the idea of stepping outside my comfort zone, reporting facts.  I sometimes include opinions in my posts, but I see the merit in using creative writing to express both opinions and emotions.  Strong impressions can be made by using literary devices.  “Just the facts, ma’am” can become kind of flat, especially after a while.

When I was in 9th grade I attended a small school run by an oil company in Venezuela.  The teachers came from the US and were all vastly more eccentric that the teachers I had known in Pennsylvania.  Our English teacher, the memorable Pina Sue Sturdavant, was also our physical education instructor.  She was from the panhandle of Texas and had such a strong and ridiculous  accent that it would have been impossible not to make fun of it.  She was unpopular with the students because she was just too weird for us.  She announced we would study propaganda in our English class for 6 weeks.  We thought she was insane because in the 1960’s propaganda was something we thought was for Russians who lied to the public.  She proceeded to teach us the principals of advertizing, which have served me well since that time.  She explained that certain methods of persuasion could convince us to want things we did not naturally want.  This is, of course, rhetorical truth, of which we hear so much around political election time.  Not all of it is subliminal.  Alliteration is a favorite device because it sticks in the mind and on the tongue.   Libby’s, Libby’s Libby’s on the label, label, label was the example Pina Sue used to illustrate successful use of alliteration.  Dr Seuss is a liberal user of this device, to great effect.

Marketing logans and jingles are carefully designed to be catchy.  In the old days rhyme was used more profusely than it is today: Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.  These marketing devices also work in poetry.  A poem sells an idea, or a personal glimpse of reality, an interpretation.  Tonight I will attend another reading at the Poetry Center on the politics and poetics of water…they have already used alliteration in the title of the seminar.  My goal this week is to continue writing poems and work to use alliteration within them.  It was always my favorite device.  Starting with this one, I may continue to enjoy other structural restraints.  It would be fitting if I could write a poem about Pina Sue herself…We shall see.  She does have those two S sounds at the end of her name, and I remember her vividly.

What do you think?

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What a great website you have found. It’s more than a little education and it sounds challenging in very fun way. (Also love the story about your teacher too! )


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

February 28, 2015

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