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An Incomplete Concordance

Amazon.com are becoming interesting, for writers, in a new way.

They provide concordances on some of the books they sell. For example, my first collection of poems, Budavox: poems 1990-1999 (DC Books, 1999), yields the following results - the hundred most frequently used words in the collection being:

across again air always another away bed black blood blue body boy close cold colour come dark day dead death does done door down enough everything eyes face feel fingers floor four get girl glass go gone good green ground hair hands head hours house keep know left let life light long look love man may men moment moon morning mouth must new next night nothing now once open own part place put rain red room roses see set skin sky something soon still sun take things thought time touch turn upon wall want water white without woman words world

In terms of complexity, 52% of sampled poetry books use fewer complex words, and 52% have less syllables per word.

My second collection, Cafe Alibi (DC Books, 2002), yields the following most-favoured words:

again against air always another apart arms bed black blue bodies boy budapest call cannot cold cut desire difficult doors down else end even eye father fingers floor folded foreign girl glass go gone good green hands having home hot hours houses human know late leaves letters light line little long look loss lost love may mother move must nothing now old once own place return running say school sea see senses seven simply skin small somewhere space station step still suddenly summer table take things though time touch turn upon want war water whose windows wonders work world year

Now the complexity has shifted somewhat. 66% use fewer complex words, and 71% have less syllables per word.

My third collection, Rue du Regard (DC Books, 2004), has the following hundred most popular words:

again air behind best better body book came cannot charles close crossed cut day death door down even ever eyes face first full get girl give go good great hair hands head high home hours instead king know last life light little live long look loss love man may meets men might move name new night now old once own pain paris part past place poetry put read red room safety saw say sea see seems sense should side small stone street take thank things think though three time turn two walk walls want wife windows winter words work world

Now the numbers are 68% and 71%.

Finally, my fourth collection, Winter Tennis (DC Books, 2007) has not had a concordance done of it, yet.

What can be quickly seen, though, is that I favour not fire or ice, but certain other rather simple, even elemental, words a great deal, such as: again, air, body/bodies, down, know, love, move, sea, water, and world.
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