Poet Voice

How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
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k-j
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Poet Voice

Post by k-j » Wed May 02, 2018 7:20 pm

Interesting piece about why so many poets read excellent, expressive (or not) poems in that portentous droning way which drains all the life out of their creations. The Glück and Trethewey examples linked in the piece are egregious, and T.S. Eliot comes to mind as perhaps the worst of all.

The stuff at the end about race and gender seems a bit forced, however.
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churinga
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Re: Poet Voice

Post by churinga » Wed May 02, 2018 10:09 pm

I spent a full-time year at a speech and drama school, each morning we would recite poetry and be taught how to do it. I thought I had a good speaking voice, but even after a year of this I was still learning how to do it. It is a real art to make poetry come alive when read, one of the most important things is not to read the poem but to memorize it and become like an actor in a play. Most poets don't do this and the result is dreadful. I gave up going to poetry readings I found them embarassing and boring. Even Les Murray, a poet I greatly admire, was hopeless, droning on in a irritating nasal Aussie accent.
I remember going to a pub poetry reading and one poet really nailed it, he had memorized his poem and let loose with great spontaneous acting-out of his humorous poem.
So some poets do get it right but it is rare. I have trolled throught YouTube looking for good poems read well and have only found two, both Neruda poems, but neither are read by him. If you are interested, they are ' Inclinado en las tardes' and 'poema 20', both by Four Seasons Productions.
( both have Englsish subtitles).

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lotus
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Re: Poet Voice

Post by lotus » Sun May 06, 2018 7:36 am

k-j wrote:Interesting piece about why so many poets read excellent, expressive (or not) poems in that portentous droning way which drains all the life out of their creations. The Glück and Trethewey examples linked in the piece are egregious, and T.S. Eliot comes to mind as perhaps the worst of all.

The stuff at the end about race and gender seems a bit forced, however.
many thankyuuus K-J

i've shared the article with some voices i know

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“A poem should have the touch ... the way sunlight falls on Braille.” .......silent lotus

Perry
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Re: Poet Voice

Post by Perry » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:20 am

I haven't yet read the article, which I will momentarily, but this is something I've thought about. I once saw a video of Frost reciting "Stopping by Woods", and there was no music in his recitation. I think the problem is simply that few poets have the ability to express with their vocal chords the music that they hear in their heads. I have that problem myself: I would write a highly musical poem, and then, in the peer group, recite it as if I were reading a list of numbers. That has changed for me, as I practice putting expression into my voice on any occasion that I will be reciting my poems (which almost never happens, actually).

The skills of being an author aren't the same as the skills of being an actor. Shakespeare might not have been able to act his own characters.

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I just finished the article. The article concluded that there are sociological (as well as psychological) reasons for "Poet Voice". But I think it is mostly personal. It is harder for a non-actor to put emotion into his or her recitations than to hear the emotions in his head while he is writing the lines. Also, expressing your own emotions spontaneously is natural, while putting emotion in your voice while reading composed lines (even your own) is much harder. Even if you wrote the poem that you are reciting, a good recitation requires you to act it out like an actor. That requires skills that most of us haven't developed. Acting out our lines also makes us emotionally vulnerable to the audience, and that can be uncomfortable.

As for poets taking long pauses during their recitations, they may just be giving the audience time to absorb what they have heard.
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