In my mind, poetry is meant to be read aloud. When picking words for a poem, a writer has to pay strict attention to the meaning of the word as well as how the word sounds.

The best book I ever read about sound in poetry is Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook. Oliver goes in depth discussing how vowels and consonants help words. In the book, Oliver looks at Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Oliver goes into detail to show how the words in the poem reflect the sounds of softness.

While a poet may not initially sit down and write words thinking about how they sound, it is important for a poet to take the time in later drafts to really look at the words and hear how the words sounds in the poem.

Poetry is like a quick punch to the stomach. It hurts and then days later, it still hurts. In order to make that punch last, it comes down to the subtle word choices.