« C.D. Wright | In a Word, a World (page 3) »

Although I take a special pleasure in compounds, whether or not they have been duly authorized: silverback, deepstep, lovegreen, pothead, eyestring, closeburn, shirttail, boneman, wristwatch, no words please me so much as the one or two-syllable noun. It appears at its best left unaccompanied by an article. At its best, shed of adjective. Whether it is singular or plural matters. I prefer hours to hour and roads to road; hills to hill, faces to face, but also fish to fishes and tooth to teeth. Does it matter whether I know the reason. Or that I only vaguely can supply them. Probably, but the reasons hop around, and seem purely personal. Writing is choosing. Choosing is decision-making. Decisions among word choices are among the most delectable of the whole writing experience. They may be accidental, they may be serendipitous. Never arbitrary. Decisions are being made. Even when subliminally. An accurate computation of the decisions involved in composing a poem of three-five lines would be an Oulipean challenge. I like the weight I like the lilt, I like the scene. I don’t like the s here but don’t mind it there. I like the noun to situate hue. A gourd is gourd-colored. It’s extra if its sound value complements its substance, say, for example, hock. (Whereas God is just very odd). And optimal when much of its –ness-ness as possible is thought held in its common name. On the other hand, there’s some pleasure in discovering that words do not mean what you might think they would: debridement for instance, non-plussed, is a frequent tripper-upper.

« home | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | next page »