Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Refrains and Repetitions

The girlchild sent me a poem from Japan, the backbone of which was a repeated phrase she'd tweaked so that repetitions were slightly differently accented and nuanced throughout but nonetheless structured the piece beautifully.

That made me think about repetitions - and, in particular, the phrases or refrains that are repeated throughout childhood.

Jamaica Kincaid has a wonderful short story, Girl, which uses a mother's admonitions and advice to capture a mother/daughter relationship. Poet Naomi Shihab Nye has written a poem which relates the conversation between a boy and his parent (One Boy Told Me), which, while it doesn't so much use repetition, nonetheless relies on captured conversation fragments.

What were refrains or repetitions that punctuated your childhood? Write a piece that uses these as a backbone or anchor.

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