Tuesday 30 December 2014

Vowel Colour

Alex Boyd has been busy archiving content from his now defunct Northern Poetry Review mag. Some nice rediscoveries to make, including a lovely interview with Elise Partridge which includes this interesting observation:
Can devices like vowel-color and so on really express meaning? There’s something inexplicable about it all, but I would certainly agree that syntax and sound can. Would the Duke in Browning’s “My Last Duchess” have such icy control of his syntax if he were despondent about his late wife, rather than angry enough to have had her murdered? If you look at the syntax and listen to the sound in sections of Tennyson’s “In Memoriam A. H. H.” or his “Now sleeps the crimson petal,” for example, you can make an argument about how vowels, consonants and syntax help convey such emotions as resignation and despair or tenderness and eager anticipation.
(Photograph of Alfred Lord Tennyson)

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