A Poem Needs to Work in the Ear

Poetry is first and foremost an oral/aural art form. We have been singing and reciting poems much longer than we have had the printing press. A poem needs to work in the ear as well as on the page. Often a poem begins for me in my mind as I’m walking or reading or washing the dishes, then I begin saying it out loud to myself. If I begin on the page, I find myself stopping mid-composition to say the lines to hear if they’re right.