Writing tips in 2021? Assonance is when vowel sounds are repeated in two or more words that are close to each other in the poem and have different consonants. An example of this would be “The octopus flopped on the cot – kerplop!” Several words in the example contain the short “o” sound, but the words contain different consonants.
Write different versions, then look them over and compare. How do they look on the page? Dense and heavy, or light and delicate? How well does their appearance fit your poem? What about the sound? Try reading them out loud. What is the rhythm like, for example, short and choppy, bouncy, smooth? Are there places where your eye or voice pauses? Are these the right places? Which versions are most interesting to read? Are there any places where the look or sound becomes distracting (for example, if you have one very long line that sticks out too much)?
What are you writing about Rachel Rabbit White? I’m thinking about how desire is at the center of what it is to be alive and how desire is the root of all suffering. Love and poetry and romance are, like, the only place of enjoyment for me. When feminists like Shulamith Firestone criticize romantic love, namely heterosexual coupling, as a site of oppression, I agree. But sometimes it also feels like romantic love is the only site of release, or even a site of resistance, under capitalism. Maybe I feel this especially as a sex worker, when you’re selling a sense of love or romance for work, the romance “off work” can feel like a space of reclaiming. Yet the new poems are coming so easily, I don’t know if I can trust them.
You seem to inhabit a few different personas. There’s Rachel the poet, party girl—and you’re also a sex worker. Which personas did you inhabit while you were writing these poems? I think there is this me facing the idea of melting off the escort persona at times, and then also trying to hold on to a sense of self and politics, which is where the more manifesto-style lines enter [my work]. There is also the “I just want to have fun with my friends and have the orgy” voice, and there’s a a colloquial text message [persona] too. I think you can tell there are direct text messages from me to my friends and the other way around. Read a lot more details at Poet Rachel Rabbit White.
I met Rachel Rabbit White last December. Her first collection of poems, Porn Carnival, had just come out the month before. I’d read an article about the release party, about some angel dust, a little cake-sitting, a DJ, and then something like “Rachel Rabbit White is a sex worker.” It all seemed glamorous and no-fucks-ish. And this was about poetry. I had just gotten out of prison. I was in a halfway house. Weekdays, I went to work at an office. It was a bullshit job. I was making $8/hr, paying 25 percent of the gross of my paychecks back to the halfway house for “subsistence.” I had published a novel the previous year. It was a good thing I had, or I’d have been broke. This didn’t go without controversy. Some took issue with her feelings about her own experience, something to the effect of it being unethical of her to exploit her own exploitation. She was even accused of being a “fake” sex worker. Her accusers were not sex workers, so it’s anyone’s guess how they might know enough to tell a fugazzi from a genuine article, but this is neither here nor there. A few porn stars bowed up to troll for White, and that was the last of people saying she was a fake.