Poetry is what makes Roald Dahl’s characters come alive

Roald_DahlAdrienne Raphel at Poetry Magazine:

It is his poetry, as embedded in his prose, that brings out the quintessence of Dahl. His early novels burst with original poems. In James and the Giant Peach, first published in 1961, the Centipede celebrates the discovery that the Peach they inhabit is edible by bursting into an extemporaneous ode to the fruit. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which first appeared in 1964, is even thicker with poems than James. The prose itself is high octane, charged with alliteration and anaphora. When Wonka takes the Golden Ticket winners on a boat ride down the Chocolate River, the parents cry out:

He’s balmy!
He’s nutty!
He’s batty!
He’s dippy!
He’s dotty!
He’s daffy!
He’s goofy!
He’s beany!
He’s buggy!
He’s wacky!
He’s loony!

The monometer list, full of slant rhyme, becomes incantatory. The repetition of He’s is hypnotic, a string of unstressed syllables that create a singsong effect as we read down the column. Dahl has an incredible facility for putting words in our mouths: putting this poem into the voices of the nervous parents forces readers to vocalize the adjectives too.

more here.