One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said, “We need a voice to call across the water, to warn ships; I’ll make one. I’ll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog that ever was; I’ll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore. I’ll make a sound that’s so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and hearths will seem warmer, and being inside will seem better to all who hear it in the distant towns. I’ll make me a sound and an apparatus and they’ll call it a Fog Horn and whoever hears it will know the sadness of eternity and the briefness of life.

Ray Bradbury
The Fog Horn

Silence

December 29, 2019

Funny how silence can be the loudest sound of all.

Lauren Oliver
Vanishing Girls

an echo

July 4, 2019

Days I feel like a human being, while other days I feel more like a sound. I touch the world not as myself but as an echo of who I was.

Ocean Vuong
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

an atonement

January 19, 2019

Geoffrey Hill, the English poet renowned for ‘difficulty,’ said in a well-known essay that he thinks of a poem as an atonement. Actually he said ‘at-one-ment,’ to describe the coming together in the rightest way of the sound and the matter that makes of any real poem something final, something imbued with grace and sacred energy, something understood and rare as the full engagement in life’s acts is always rare.

Dave Smith
Afield with a Man and a Gun
Northwest Review vol. 49, no. 2, June 2011

shamanic anatomy

January 12, 2019

To me a good poem is like a sacred mind-altering substance: you take it into your system, and it carries you beyond your ordinary ways of understanding. I call the nonconceptual elements of a poem — the rhythm, the sound, the images — the “shamanic anatomy.” Like a shaman’s drum, the beat of a poem can literally entrain the rhythms of your body: your heartbeat, your breath, even your brain waves, altering consciousness. Most poems are working on all these levels at once, not just through the rational mind

Kim Rosen
Written On The Bones
Interview with Alison Luterman, December 2010