Search This Blog

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Seventh Street: What's All That Jazz? (an excerpt)

While, at first, it may seem unreasonable to label Toomer’s work, titled “Seventh Street”, poetry because it is like music, one should first consider song lyrics. Song lyrics are arguably all poetic because they must cater to the rhythms and sounds of the surrounding music where they function as the tool of another instrument. Plus, Toomer uses the phrase “thrusting unconscious rhythms”, which is reflected by the large stanza like structure in the center of the work. Toomer’s words definitely have a flow with the short bursting words that are broken up by commas, exclamation marks, semicolons functioning almost as a drumbeat to gauge the timing. For example, we see the line “Split it! In two! Again shred it!...the sun”. Here we find a series of one syllable words that are abruptly split by the exclamation marks. The energy demanded by the exclamation marks to quickly blast the words forces you to stop in between. There is also a blend of hard, consonant sounds and soft ones that change up the rhythm. The sentences before and after this line are “Wedges rust in soggy wood...” and “Wedges are brilliant in the sun; ribbons of wet wood dry and blow away”. In these two sentences we see a greater blend of sounds. There are more syllables per word, longer sentences, and smoother language which is created in part by the soft “o” sounds of “soggy” and “wood”. This sort of blend signifies an entire band playing since all the elements harmonize into one whereas the short abrupt sentence almost sounds like a quick drum solo interruption. This section is even set off by ellipsis. Such a move reinforces that this part is meant to be set off as a quick drum solo intermission often is. Thus, each syllable in the quotation marked by exclamations could represent quick, individual drum beats.

No comments:

Post a Comment