In the 1970s, poet Kenneth Koch inspired school children in Manhattan to create verse freely and joyfully. To help them associate words and sounds he began with an onomatopoetic word–buzz–and asked them to come up with words that sounded like it–fuzz, fuzzy, muzzy, does, gloves, cousin. He also made noise! He smacked a chair with a ruler and asked them to put the sound into words–hit, tap, smack. He had them close their eyes and listen again and decide what word best recreated the sound. Whack! Snap! Cat! Koch encouraged them to hear the most accurate word regardless of its meaning. Pap! Map! Bat!
I just closed my eyes and slapped my small leather day-timer against the arm of my chair. I heard Ma’am! Pam! Tam!
Your turn: drop your keys, ring a bell, snap a pencil–and hear what fresh noise-words come to ear.