Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Luminous shards

There is a word that has filtered into the collective consciousness of British poets, as memorably discussed in Peter Sansom's enduring how-to text, Writing Poems, which first appeared in 1994, in a discussion about poetry clichés:

"Writers use them to try and lift flagging poems -- hoping they will inject...emotional resonance. They do the reverse."

He quotes Pound saying "one of poetry's functions is to 'keep the tools clean'... Using poetry clichés ultimately blunts the tools."

His overtaxed word of choice is "shards", one that I think is scarce in Canadian poetry. But I would like to nominate the word "luminous" for this decade's hit list, a word which seems to be shining rather too brightly out of every other poem - particularly American ones - I've read in the last year. It's a bit too… *poetic* to resist calling attention to itself; the poems I've seen it in seem to lean rather hard on it, and now I wince when I see it. It does appear a lot in reviews as well. A shame, as it's a nice word. But it's getting tired. Let's give it a rest shall we? Anyone have a nomination for Canada's most worn-out poetry word?

Rice is a fine word, one that can never be over-used in my cookbooks. And Kheer is one of my favourite desserts, a richer, runnier version of rice pudding, fragrant with cardamom, so good I have been known to eat it for breakfast. In my version, you forget the rosewater; substitute 2 percent / semi-skimmed milk for all or most of the cream; and add a third of a cup of golden raisins to the milk mixture when you add the rice.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a couple of nominations. For my own overuse: golden. Not an especially wonderful word but it kept trying to crawl into my first book. I think I managed to keep it under control. And the most overused word is - numinous. Maybe it's the stuff I read.

5:33 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! I found your weblog through a tangentially related Google search. I live in Victoria, too.

I nominate "desire" and "crow" (in which I implicate myself, having, like every other West Coast poet, written--and published--my token crow poem).

1:54 p.m.  

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