Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Very Noisy Blog

07:56:00 Posted by Damp incendiary device , , , , , , , 2 comments
by Colin Davies

When I offered to write a blog for the Blakpool Dead Good Poets Society, they said ‘yes please’. Cool, I thought. Then they said, ‘can you write one about poetry and sound?’

I, of course, agreed. Then I got to thinking about it. You see, I used to work with sound, I was a hi-fi salesman. Esoteric equipment with values beyond most peoples means with the soul purpose of delivering the ultimate sound to the audiences ear.

So suddenly I wasn’t thinking about the onomatopoeia values of words to add a sense of drama or sound scape to an action of literally painted vista. I was thinking about sound itself, the essence of noise and rhythm, muisc.

I found myself considering such songs as Joe le Taxi, Vanessa Chantal Paradis 1987 hit. I don’t speak French, I also don’t understand it being spoken to me, yet the sound of the words, the tone of her voice, with the rhythm made it a pleasant experience to hear.

This lead me to look at other words where the sound was more important than the meaning. Disney has a couple of very good example with ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’

Just the sound of these words is enough to convey an idea. You don’t need a meaning, just a pleasing sound.

I decided to type in the words ‘Sound Poem’ into Google and found this entry in Wikipedia.

“Sound poetry is an artistic form bridging between literary and musical composition, in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded instead of more conventional semantic and syntactic values; "verse without words". By definition, sound poetry is intended primarily for performance.”

This got me thinking again. I can see that there is much discussion over this form, this discipline, this school of writing and yet I find the idea so simple, liberating and fun.

Spike Milligan would touch on this style is some of his writing. ‘In the land of the Bumbly Boo’ and the ‘Ying Tang Song’ have wonderful sounds that aren’t describing anything as such, just being noises.

So to me a Sound Poem is one that just allows the audio aspects of the words to be the focus. It could be a language you don’t understand, or some invented words that are put together for the Phonetic flow that they deliver to the listener. Which ever way you look at it, writing in pure sound may look easy but it requires a certain focus to find the most important element of such a piece of work, the rhythm.

If you set about writing such a verse, and you negate the rhythm, the outcome can be nothing more that a random set of letters, characters thrown on a page. By placing a structure over the top and sticking strictly to the time signature, you can create something that can touch people on a level beyond mere words, and influence then on a higher plane than any music.

These hypnotic lines entrance and entertain. They completely and utterly allow the audience to superimpose their own meaning, attach their own emotional bond, it becomes theirs and theirs alone.

So, by taking all this on aboard, I present to you a sound poem from my heart, to yours.

What’s out there?

Chicka chicka chook
Lokra nonti sood
Blimble lushby kethtra ong
woota, homthga, jaykma, tong

Colin presents the Listen Me Alice show on Impact Radio every Sunday night from 10pm.


vicky ellis said...

A unique perspective on the week's theme. I LOVE your sound poem! This has inspired me more than anything I've read for some time. The temptation to write something similar for the next event is overwhelming. I vote we have an event in the new year in which everyone has to write a sound poem. I love the idea of everyone reading poems with no semantic meaning attached :) Thanks for joining us Colin.

Ashley R Lister said...


Thanks for joining us here on the blog. Thanks also for making me feel geriatric because I too can remember Vanessa Paradis singing Joe le Taxi back in the late 80s.

Looking forward to seeing you on Friday.