Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Things That Make My Brain Ooze from My Ears, Part 1

People who read strongly rhythmic and rhymed poetry out loud and try to make it sound like free verse, thus laming the horse instead of riding it.

Poets were sometimes the rock stars of other eras -- and part of their power was the primal interaction of sound and rhythm, combined with the more cerebral pleasures of imagery and meaning. If you don't combine them, your reading is going to sound horrible. Like William Shatner "singing".

I don't care how much your English teacher feared you sounding "singsong". A prosy drone with no rhythm and no power is worse.

A poem with a driving beat is not the same as a lyrical piece of free verse, any more than a dance hit is the same as a meandering 30 minute guitar solo. Pay attention to the poem. Read what it says, the way it says. Otherwise, you're not reading the poem at all.


  • At 9:59 PM, Blogger Fr. Larry Gearhart said…

    Some of the best-known poets of recent times have read their own poetry in a flat-sounding monotone, and yet achieved a reasonably deep effect. Allen Ginsberg comes to mine.

    Apart from that caveat, I'm with you, that the oral interpretation should incorporate the elements that are obviously there in the text.


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