Wednesday, May 6, 2015

From Volume 35: A poem by Becky Kennedy

Becky Kennedy





It's Sunday morning and sun the color

of honey spills on the kitchen counter;

it’s ten or eleven o’clock and they

fill our kitchen, our son and his new wife

and their friends and the laughing, the way that

people laugh when laughing is like breathing,

laughing about beer and golf and bad luck

and graduate school, laughing at jobs they’ve

had or never had, the two wives rolling

eyes, laughing, planning Sunday. His new wife

humming as if she were baking or were

planning something really nice like golfing

while you test your clubs in the living room

where I sort my photos. In the night you

In the Spotlight: Becky Kennedy

Writer Becky Kennedy is a linguist and professor at Lasell College. In the following Q&A, she shares her unique perspective on writing as well as the behind-the-pen thought process behind her poem, “Golfing,” which appears in The Worcester Review Volume XXXV. 

Can you discuss your job as a linguist and professor at Lasell College? What does it mean to be a linguist? How has your work as a linguist helped you write from a unique angle?

A linguist studies both languages and language: When the linguist documents the parameters of variation in languages, the universal characteristics of language can be better understood. Critical to the linguist’s understanding of language and the language faculty is an appreciation of the completeness of a speaker’s knowledge of language. In my courses on language structure and language acquisition, I work to help my students perceive their own spoken forms as fully rule-governed and beautiful; one approach to that appreciation is the formal analysis of the components of spoken language. Voice is one of the features of spoken language that makes the individual speaker’s output so compelling, and voice is important to the aesthetic appeal of the language of literature. In my literature and creative writing courses, therefore, I focus again on formalism: on the ways in which tonality is reflected in sound and meaning patterns, for instance.

Your piece in TWR takes its title, “Golfing,” from an image in the poem. One of the most difficult (and potentially one of the most important) parts of writing a poem is its title. How do you go about titling your pieces in general and for this piece in particular?