16.14: Poetic Language

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, Dan, Amal, and Howard

We might begin with description.

Or we might begin by deconstructing the act of describing.

Wait. No, not there.

Let’s jump in AFTER the deconstruction.

Let’s leap beyond a statement of topic, let’s hurdle clear of mundane declarations of the audio file’s length, and together plunge headlong into metaphor, the icy water perhaps calling to mind Archimedes, as we describe our episode (or any other thing) not in terms of its intrinsic attributes, but by taking account of what it has displaced into the spaces it doesn’t occupy.

How long does the displacement remain? How might one apply paint to the emptiness after the thing has left?

What color is silence that follows the end of the episode?

(An end which follows twenty minutes and thirty-three seconds in which the four of us discuss the kinds of words we imagine when we say “poetic language.”)

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, and mastered by Alex Jackson


Look at this sentence: “It’s a dark, grey winter’s day; there’s a lot of snow on the ground and a cold wind’s blowing.”

Distill this sentence until it feels like a poem to you. Introduce line breaks wherever you like; cut as much as you want until it feels like it’s singing to you.

Then, once you have a compact, dense poem, expand it outwards: can you keep it feeling like a poem while giving it more shape and length?

Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse