A little Friday surprise: Talk to me

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Confidences

Last month  I was looking for a particular ee cummings poem. And in the middle of the search, I ran across an archive of cummings reading his own work. Like this: love is thicker than forget. Since then, I’ve searched all over for poets reading their own works. I particularly love Fishouse Poems, which archives recordings of emerging poets. There’s an amazing poem by Amaud Johnson which you have to hear. Turns out there are archives all over the net of people reading amazing works. Of their own. Wow.

A poet we’ve interviewed on this very blog, Jay Sizemore, has posted some recordings of his poems on youtube. It’s an amazing experience listening to them – it’s not that the poems are better spoken, but different. I get different things out of using my ears than my eyes. I think we all do. I want to do a search sometime soon for youtube videos of people signing poems in ASL (which I don’t know much of, but a tiny bit) – I think I will learn a lot.

Charles Dickens, public reading, 1867It is good to read one’s draft poems aloud. It’s like getting several months away from them, it’s that fresh. All the slightly wrong notes are obvious; all the truly “on” moments stand out in great beauty.

If you find that you like reading your poems, there are not only open mics where you can speak your word in public but there are journals that will publish your works…in audio. These venues range from the multicultural spoken word standard, Visions With Voices, to the multi-media-friendly new magazines like shuf that include audio works. I’m thinking sometime that IOBs might want to try publishing audio works too.

So my thought for Friday? Let’s talk. 


10 thoughts on “A little Friday surprise: Talk to me

  1. Ina,
    Isn’t it interesting how little gems cross our paths when we are looking for something?
    Glad you shared this!
    Reading aloud is a great strategy, one I have used for my own words and recommended to family and students.
    Best in 2013 to Two Writers!

    • Patricia, I also have my students read their drafts out loud to themselves before turning them in – they’re always so surprised at how many errors and things they catch. I am only just learning to do that myself now with my own words 🙂

      Thank you for the best wishes and same to you for a lovely new year!

    • I wonder if there IS a right way to do it – maybe it’s just interesting to hear the poet read is as she hears it in her head. I just like knowing what people sound like and being able to recreate that in my head when I read their work. I’ll look forward to hearing yours some day 🙂

  2. I love Jay’s work–both poetry and flash fiction. Thanks for sharing a link.

    I am like Laurie. I am not so comfortable with reading my work yet. Not that I think I’m not doing it right, though. More online the lines of I haven’t made enough of a name for myself to justify the idea that someone might actually want to listen to me reading my work. But maybe someday.

    • Linda, I rather feel like that too. But after hearing Jay (who is published many times over but not yet a household name) I can see that it might be a way to get people interested in reading your work – his reading of the Kansas poem in particular (even though I’d read it before) struck me as the kind of thing that if I were an editor, i’d say “Hey, I want to hear more from this guy!” If you decide to try it sometime, I’d love to hear it. As I was telling Laurie, I just love being able to hear someone’s voice in my mind

  3. Thanks for reminding me about this Ina. I know there’s also a site where you can hear other dead poets reading their work aloud (just have to figure out where … it’s kind of creepy ’cause they show a photo of the poet, say Anne Sexton, then make her lips move when her voice is being played – but it’s also cool, if you know what I mean). Also, I am giving a scheduled ten minute read at my beloved Stroll of Poets on Monday night for the first time in two years and am disproportionately nervous for someone who used to love the open mic – so, maybe I’ll rehearse into an on-line open mic (after rehearsing into a tape-recorder at home first). I keep vacillating between keeping my promise to read and cancelling but am determined to read as the announcement has already been in local papers, on-line etc.(I’m one of 5 that night) and I think it’s time I started showing up for my life again.

    • Sharon ! How perfect! Wish I could be there to hear you – I hope you have a good time! FWIW, I really think just the very experience of the author reading her own work is a treat for most people in the audience – it’s like “Wow, a real person! She’s visceral! She sounds particular!” It’s seriously wonderful, so you’ll be wonderful just because there you are reading your stuff –

  4. Ina, I love this post. It speaks to all of us, I think, on some level. I, too, so enjoy hearing poets read their own work. It allows me to hear how they interpreted their own words, how they were meant emotionally.

    Thanks for this.

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