As someone who pays a LOT of attention to how words sound, I have always had a soft spot for homophones. So today, we will explore several ways to play with these sound-alike words.
1. Go to www.homophone.com. On the left sidebar, you can search homophones by starting letter. I was amazed how many were listed, including many I would not have thought of on my own. (Just in the “A” section, I found able/Abel, aerie/airy, ante/aunty, and away/aweigh.) Spend some time with these lists and write down some pairs that seem interesting or appealing to you.
2. Try to use at least one set from your list in a poem. Or use more than one set. This is the easy version.
4. If you are feeling a little crazy, try choosing six of the homophones as your end words for a sestina. I recently wrote a sestina where one of my end words was whores. (Don’t ask.) In the stanzas that followed, I used homophones to make it work – hoarse, horse, hoar – all the way through the poem. As a matter of fact, homophones can be your best friend in writing a sestina. If you have an end word that can keep the same sound but completely change its meaning, the sestina is much easier to complete.
Sew, as you start to right yore poems, halve fun with homophones – don’t bee sow Sirius. (See what I did there? Huh?) And if you don’t, please don’t comment on my spelling errors…they ARE purposeful.