Jane Hirshfield and oral communication

“A poem is a set of words that simply has a higher meaning to moment ratio than other words do. There is more packed into them…”1; words that are bursting with meaning.

Poetry has an intimate relationship with sound.2 Whether expressed aloud or in your head, thoughts and ideas in poems are heard, as in an oral form.

In a pre-literary world3 4 the primary form of communication was sound based. For thoughts and ideas to be memorable, they had to be communicated in such a way as to enable their existence beyond the sound of them – their memorability.

Oral communication is exactly that, “more meaning fitting into a few words than those words can possibly hold”; words with resonance5

When communicating orally you need to attach very particular words to the thoughts and ideas you want to communicate in order for meaning to be created with a live audience. These particular words are words that carry specific meaning orally.

Creating an oral performance of thoughts and ideas is about gathering those ideas that respond well to being translated into a form of words that are powerful orally.

You identify the thoughts and ideas you want to communicate then you find words with a higher meaning to moment ratio that can be used as vehicles for communicating those thoughts and ideas live – oral words.

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  1. Jo Fidgen, Why Factor, BBC World Service, Sunday 16 November 2014, 05:32 (last on)
  2. Rhyme, rhythm, meter, assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, etc., etc. sound based devices used in poetry designed to create memorability from ideas communicated orally
  3. approximately 6000 years ago.
  4. Poetry as an art form may predate literacy. Wikipedia
  5. resonance – the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection, as from the walls of a hollow space, or by the synchronous vibration of a neighbouring object; a sound so prolonged, a resonant sound. LME.

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