Rattle: It’s All in the Sound of Poetry

Recently I’ve been subscribed to a blog called ”Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century”. At first, I was only interested in the fact that they host poetry competitions, but after realizing I wasn’t ready to share my words on their platform, I explored the poetry they hosted on their site.

So far I have yet to stumble upon a poem written by a Caribbean poet, but what I’ve read so far is really good. Really good.

As a Literature major, you’re trained to pick out specific characteristics that stick out of anyone and anything – the characteristics that make you go, “Yeah man, that’s definitely Sean’s writing,” for example. So far, the trend in the poems I’ve read on Rattle has largely to do with the consistency of simplicity inherent in all the poems. Though each writer is different, and each topic is way over on the other end of the spectrum from the one previously read, I can tell that the organizers of Rattle are drawn to the types of poems that don’t try too hard to say something, and in being extremely simple – just getting to the point – these poems are the most profound.

The best poems for me are the ones that don’t readily make sense. I write a lot of these. They stem from vast experiences that may or may not have anything to do with each other, but the way they come together makes the work of art all the more beautiful. An example of mine is “Discombobulated Spirit”The title alone should hint at what I mean. Everything in that poem is totally unrelated, and even when I was done writing, I kept wondering at the juxtapositions made. The poem itself is discombobulated.

One of such poems I’ve read on Rattle is by James Tate, entitled “A Shipwrecked Person”. The language is quite simple, and some lines even seem flat, but it’s what comes in between that makes it more palpable – the sound of the speaker’s dream crashing against rocks, mixed with the splashing of an ocean. Can a pair of scissors yawn? Not technically, but the description does well to create an image of the opening and closing of scissors in use. Can lamps remonstrate? Nope, but the simile is clever nonetheless. Read it! You’ll get what I’m talking about.

Why I Like Rattle Overall

The sound of the name of the blog. Yes that’s the main reason why I like it. Why? Because the word itself keeps echoing in my mind like the call of a sinister snake you just can’t take your eyes off of. And that’s my reaction each time I get a daily email with a new poem in it. I feel like I must read this poem, simply because I haven’t heard the word “rattle” in ages, and also because good poetry is a snake that never fails to pull me into its hypnotic snare. And shouldn’t that be what poetry is? A sound that you constantly want to have shaking up your thoughts and making you see things differently?

Go check it out for yourself and tell me.

A snapshot of Rattle's homepage
A snapshot of Rattle’s homepage

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