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Passions in Poetry

Reading your poetry out loud

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Sunshine
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0 posted 04-16-2008 02:17 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine


There are writers of poetry, readers of poetry, listeners of poetry, and poets who listen and write.

I believe they are all quite individual in how they go about each process as well.

How do you read your poetry, when reading it aloud? Do you pretend there's a group of people out there, and you're raising your voice and at each end sentence, do you raise your voice as if asking a question, even though there's no punctuation giving reason to do so?

Point: It's poetry month, so our poetry group is taking a month off and attending the "every four Tuesdays" in April to enjoy our betters. And it's fun!

But a couple of us have gotten into the habit of buying the poets' books prior to the read, and "reading along" with the poet as he or she reads their work aloud to a group of 50 or more.

Some well-published poets read their work in a very mechanized way. Others sometime "yell" or become very emphatic in expression [to the point of being performance art] and most times, each ending is not so much conversational in tone as it is a question mark in tone, with an uplift of the voice at the end.

I'm probably not making much sense, it's not easy to discuss "tone" literally, but maybe some of you can pick up on what I mean, and respond in kind.

When I read aloud at Open Mic events, or those times that have been televised, I try to read, and want to read, as if I were drawing you into a conversation, with pauses, breaks, some emotion in the tone, etc. I try not to race across the poem unless there's some buffalo on my heels, and it is part of the poem itself.

So, how do you like to read your poetry when sharing it with others? Do you always think a poet's reading is as good as their writing?

Questions, questions....



Thanks!
Seoulair
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since 03-27-2008
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Seoul S.Korea


1 posted 04-16-2008 03:17 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

very, very interesting topic.

I wrote mine only when the mood was there. When I edited them, it was like indifference to my own feelings. When I read it sometime later...so tasteless because the feelings was no longer there. But I don't call myself a poet.

I'd love to hear you reading your poems because I'm sure that I will hear the same softness as you wrote them. And Marge, Margherita,..

I'd love to hear Sir Balladeer reading his poem. It must be more  emotional or funnier (if his humorous poem)) than when I read them.

I'd rather read Ron's poem than to hear him reading. He must read them as reading ultimatums.

And I cannot imagine that John (Huan Yi) read his poems as softly and quietly tuned as he wrote. (I might be wrong).

I shall laugh loudly on the seriousness of Toerag's reading his poem.      

Instinct thought.      
And I do  believe poem (writing) does express feelings that other ways can not express.

Sunshine
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2 posted 04-16-2008 03:37 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Kim, I find it interesting that you are indifferent to your poems; yet, I could say the same about some of mine, but all of them? No. Even after going back to some of them, years later, they're apt to attack my senses in various ways, but hardly ever with indifference, and most likely the more emotional the poem? The more varied the ways in which it comes back to me.

But when reading my poetry aloud, I want to draw the listener in; I want them to lean forward [hence, I rarely "yell" even when reading aloud] and above all, I want to strike some kind of chord with the listener.

That brings in tonal modulation. I wonder how many of us really work at reading aloud, and moderating our tone to fit the poem? Or, does the poem end up wearing us?

There have been some poets in the past who are computer savvy enough to put their poems on the forums and share their voices with us. [When I get that computer savvy, I may do it too!] Take Earth Angel [Linda]. She's got a beautiful voice, and her voice actually "fits" her poetry [in my humble opinion.] In fact, her voice is remarkably similar to what I had "heard" in my own head prior to her ever putting her recordings on line.

We've heard Balladeer's voice on line through the forums, as well. Again, his voice seems to fit what I had "heard" in my own head.

However, there's always a surprise on the other end of the line. When I hear my own voice [recorded] it is always a surprise to my ears. It's not at all the "melodious voice" I thought I owned. Rather, what I've heard seems to own me.

If you haven't ever recorded your own voice with your poetry, try it sometime. It's a real eye opener. I know it helps me to hear my own words - because after that, usually several different line breaks begin to occur, and/or I start changing words that seem "right" in my head, but "wrong" to my ear.

It's all fun!

Seoulair
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since 03-27-2008
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3 posted 04-16-2008 03:52 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
Take Earth Angel [Linda].

I wanted to mention her but i didn't.
Sorry, dear angel.
Since you mentioned her,Sunshine Lady,
I indeed think that her poem has much more (in depth and the emotional waving)  than her own voice. I don't mean that her voice is not good. (do you think that I myself have a stronger echo in my mind? Did I modify the original tune of the author? I don't not.)

And Helen (1sticklady). I read her poem in one breath and the emotion in it was very strong. But I really do not expect that a lady is able to  read like it. Truly.  
Bob K
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4 posted 04-16-2008 03:56 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Reading out loud is a frightening thing for me.  But I can't say that any poem is every really done until I've read it out loud to somebody, even if that's only myself.  Because I'm frightened, all the flaws in the thing seem to stand right out as if they were back-lit, and I find myself reluctant to read certain parts of the poem.  Those are the parts I know I'll have to either take out or revise.

     I also get a chance to hear the thing for real for the first time, so I can tell if the poem actually comes alive the way I wanted it to.  I generally like to make my poems pretty complex structures of sound, and I want to make sure that some of the language play comes out when I read it.  I write my stuff to be read out loud, so it doesn't really show itself for what it is until its got my voice up there moving the thing along.

     I write with a pretty solid sense of stress, so I want to hear that come into play as well.  Any false footing really shows itself, so I want to make sure that I read it for myself a couple of times before an audience hears it.  I want to make sure that it's heartbeat is right and sure.

     Some folks like to memorize their poems, which makes their relationship with their words something else indeed.  Very intimate, very powerful.  James Wright used to do that sometimes.  Richard Hugo did.  These guys were not shy about performing their poems, either, and at the end of a 40 minute reading, the whole audience would be slumped in their chairs, drained as if they'd just been through a sparring match with a word champion, which in fact they had been.

     Other people, like Donald Justice for example, would read like they were giving a quarterly report, tossing off poems of great beauty but underselling them terribly, as you'd hear in recordings of Eliot.

     I never understood why there wasn't more of an active reading circuit, with stars and headliners and all.  Some of these folks, you walk out of one of their readings more shaken than from any rock concert I've ever attended, reading to break into tears, or burst into laughter for hours afterward.
Seoulair
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5 posted 04-16-2008 04:11 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
Kim, I find it interesting that you are indifferent to your poems; yet, I could say the same about some of mine, but all of them? No. Even after going back to some of them, years later, they're apt to attack my senses in various ways, but hardly ever with indifference, and most likely the more emotional the poem? The more varied the ways in which it comes back to me.


Tell me what is wrong with me.
I wrote poems before and I did not want to save them..I don't have my own copies of some of my poems here in pip.

When I have a urge to write a poem, I could only manage to write 1/10th of the feelings. And most of the time the original thought has changed. So, when I read it a loud, no, that is why I don't want to read them.

I am learning. May be this is something that I need to learn. To read loud to make sure that my own true voice is there.  Oh, this is very, very hard.
Sunshine
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6 posted 04-16-2008 04:54 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Bob, reading out loud was a real wall I took years to scale. I’m going to pull a serenity moment for some base information here.

As a child, I was always told to be seen, but not heard. Man, did I take that rule to heart. It didn’t help that I was painfully thin, and woefully shy. So, as I entered a sixth grade debate class, I silently wondered if I might get over my stuttering problem. Well, not initially, but painfully, I made a resolve to do just that, because I was not so politely asked by the teacher, after trying to give my first presentation, to “please leave my class, and enroll in something silent, that you don’t have to speak in, because you’ll never be a speaker among your peers.”

Didn’t take long for MY face to go red. But my resolve? It took several years, but in 1980, I took a job as a college recruiter. Heck, anyone can sit behind a table and encourage kids to go to college, right? Except at that time, the schools changed the rules, and you had to give talks on why their students should go to your college. Well, heck. Me? Speak to more than three people at a time? Non family members? Oh, expletives galore!

But I persevered, if for no other reason than to someday say to Mr. Drucker, “you were Wrong!”

As for memorizing poetry, maybe someone else’s, but not my own. My head carries a huge eraser and a constant edit button, and I would be “rewriting” my poetry in my head and I know I would get lost, because even when I’m reading my own poetry or prose, my edit button gets busy going “ding ding ding ding” and before you know it, I’m reading, yes, but I’m mentally catching the changes my head is making as I push my eyes down the page. No, it’s NOT easy. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. So I would encourage you to continue trying. Attend local Open Mic nights. If your public library doesn’t hold them, well, bring it up to them. If you have local friends who share the same proclivity as you do to write, take them along. It’s quite empowering, and very liberating.

Kim, first of all, nothing is wrong with you. Writing poetry [for me] is an on-going life lesson. Just as getting up the nerve to post poetry in CA has been very difficult for me in the past, now I find that if I don’t do it, I’m not going to learn as much from the process as just posting it in Open. I learn much more in CA. Getting up to speak in front of a camera was butterfly city in my stomach. Getting up in front of a bunch of strangers who don’t smile is even worse – but then you have to remember, they actually might just be listening intently. The old “see them in their underwear” advice never worked for me, though.

As for writing your emotions, your feelings, and then getting it out orally – that’s probably one of the hardest tasks you’ll ever give yourself if you truly want to write. For some people, writing is a God[dess] given talent and the act of it comes to them so easily that they don’t weigh the difficulty of writing to those of us who struggle with their muse[s].

I truly want to write. I have since the age of seven. Even then I knew in my bones that I would have to gain experience. I mean, what does a seven year old really know [and make that decade-wise, because what kids know now to what they knew five decades ago is exponentially different.]

Yes, Kim. You are learning. I am learning. When we are not learning, we’ve either given up, or are six feet underground. Here’s to continued learning for all of us who wish to write on!
Seoulair
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Seoul S.Korea


7 posted 04-16-2008 05:36 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

wonderful story, dear lady Sunshine. And thank you for the encouragement.

I am not a gifted writer, neither a gifted speaker or talker....true.

I can say loudly about 1,2,3 issues but I can not emotionally read a poem.  Tried before and I failed.

I have always loved poetry and I thought I could read it out.  Wrong. together with 5 lady friends in front of 500 students in college, we did a poor job and I did have a history of school dancing, singing and  plays...useless.

I'll see where PIP takes me if I am not bothered.

Thank you Sunshine Lady again for your good topic and your words.  
Marge Tindal
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8 posted 04-16-2008 07:53 PM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal


I so enjoy reading my poetry to a group~
Someone has told me that I seem to transport myself to a level of confidence and serenity when I read to a group~

And thank you, Seoulair, for mentioning me~

I am basically a quiet person ... but having sung my poetry as a child has helped me to simply treat it as a performance ... and maybe the fact that my mother was an actress helped me to get over my stage fright~

I find poetry in every thought in life ... and if it's kept inside ... it pleases only me ... my mission as I know it to be, is to SHARE~

I find that I relate to audiences of all age levels ... but my 'fun' is to work with youth and to pull poetry out of them by showing them that if I can do it ... so can they~

I enjoy poetry reads ... whether I'm doing the reading ... or doing the listening~
Give it a go ... it kind of grows on you~

*Huglets*
~*Marge*~

~*The sound of a kiss is not as strong as that of a cannon, but it's echo endures much longer*~
Email -             noles1@totcon.com

Balladeer
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9 posted 04-16-2008 10:56 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I enjoy reading in public very much. I was as timid as anyone else in the beginning but, after receiving favorable feedback, I became more encouraged to appear at readings. I will normally focus on one face in the audience that appears to be liking my work and read to that person, allowing my gaze to continually span the room but always come back to that face. Fortunately, I memorize all of my work so I'm not faced with having to read my poems from paper, with the added effort to continually shift my eyes from the pages to the audience and back again. I recommend this method to anyone who can do it.

As far as the tone, it all depends on the poem. An animated voice for comedy is the right way to go with a more sincere and low-key approach to more serious work. Recite your poem as if you are telling a story to someone and you can't go wrong.
http://media.putfile.com/Small-Pain-in-my-Chest
http://media.putfile.com/Friday-Night-at-Wal-Mart
Seoulair
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10 posted 04-17-2008 12:27 AM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

Dear Sir Balladeer
Thank you for the links
Friday-Night-at-Wal-Mart just as  I expected, sounded funnier than I read it, esp with the strong southern accent. very, very good.

The Small-Pain-in-my-Chest ...I did not hear the full emotion...probably because of my poor quality sound.

And now, I am jealous of your memory too beside your wonderful formed poems.  
Christopher
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11 posted 04-17-2008 12:44 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Read it like you write it, and you will do the poem the justice it deserves. If you imagined it with a rising tone at the end of each sentence, odds are you didn't focus enough on the content... and that will probably show through in the quality of the poem.

Sunshine
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12 posted 04-17-2008 02:44 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

That's excellent advice, Christopher, but have you ever written a poem you couldn't read, simply because it was too emotional?

Bob K
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13 posted 04-17-2008 03:30 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     I find if the poem I write is too emotional to read, I have to make a decision about the kind of poem it really is.  Some poems aren't for audiences; you write them for yourself and their purpose isn't public.  These usually aren't finished.  They aren't wearing a skin and they'll die in public because they depend too much on their attachment to you to live on their own.

     This generally means that their emotions are wonderfully developed, but their heartbeats—their rhythm and the actual poetic technique you'd use to help a poem live on its own outside your imagination aren't fully developed enough to sustain life.

     Do I want to push this poem, then, to the degree of completion it needs to have to survive before an audience, or is it more important for me to keep it as it is, a precious but private poem for myself and perhaps a few friends who understand and accept me at this depth.

     That's what goes through my head, at least.  I'm a fairly shy guy and I often regret sharing stuff too widely, unless it's pretty well complete, which often takes me years.
Sunshine
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14 posted 04-17-2008 03:37 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

I've often heard said, BobK, that no poem is ever "complete" nor "completed". Seems poems take on lives of their own, and like any living person, its life gets altered and changed as time passes.

I know that when I've posted what for me is considered "emotional poetry" that it has often helped others through some part of their life experiences. Sharing poetry is what it's all about for me.

I've been touched by poetry, with A Cat Named Sloopy being one of the first of them to really touch my heart. When I first heard that poem in the author's own voice, I knew then that poetry, and especially emotional poetry, much like "Small Pain In My Chest" is to be shared, and much like animals, poetry should never to be owned, but to be learned from, and its own reward is to always pay it forward in some way.

We know shy, you and I, Bob. So even if we don't always speak our poetry, but share it, then we've left something good and right in this upside down world of ours.




Edward Grim
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15 posted 04-17-2008 04:05 PM       View Profile for Edward Grim   Email Edward Grim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Edward Grim's Home Page   View IP for Edward Grim

quote:
I've often heard said, BobK, that no poem is ever "complete" nor "completed".


"A poem is never finished, only abandoned."  - Paul Valery




  As far as reading poetry goes, I won't even let other people read my stuff out loud, at least not in front of me. So you can forget about me reciting it, hahaha. I just don't like hearing it I guess. That sounds a bit strange.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert E.

Sunshine
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16 posted 04-17-2008 04:10 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Yes it does Ed. Sound a bit strange, I mean. And here I would have thought that you might be one of those artists who make performance art sing. Well, dance, maybe.  

Like the introductory post said, everyone takes on poetry in their own way. But I keep running into some surprises in this thread, and this is a good day to know some surprises, believe me.



Thanks!

Balladeer
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17 posted 04-17-2008 04:59 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Bob is absolutely right. One needs to determine whether a poem is for reading or not. It makes a big difference. I have written poems that I knew I would be reading and wrote them with that intent in mind, ones like Dr. Ben McGee. If one were to critique it, one could find several areas where the meter seems out of line or erratic but, when I recite it, the meter is exact by the way I recite. i would have never written it that way were it not for the oral presentation intent.

One can get so much more out of hearing a poem recited. I have a book entitled Poetry Speaks which, along with the written words, contains three cd's of the poets reading their own work, from Tennyson to Yeats to Frost to Pound to to Edna St. Vincent Millay to E.E. Cummings to Dylan Thomas to Sylvia Plath to others. I confess that I never had an overwhelming love for The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, although many recognize it as a great classic. After hearing it read, however, my mind was changed completely. I suggest for anyone who has an opportunity to hear poetry spoken by the authors in the way they intended it to be read, to do so. The rewards are enormous.
Sunshine
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18 posted 04-17-2008 05:04 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

"Poetry Speaks"

Great book. I have a copy of it too!

William James
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19 posted 05-05-2008 11:52 AM       View Profile for William James   Email William James   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for William James

Terrific subject.  I will reference previous comments without proper credit - please forgive.  Indifferent to poems? Many of mine are "emotional poetry" based upon experiences of a private nature that I hope, when read, would also be understood by many readers. The talent to write is an act that comes easily to me when I am in the mood.  So much so that I finish a page in mere minutes and then go back to change pacing and meter, spelling, etc.
Once in a while I ask another person to read my words aloud and they murderize it. I happen to be able to read ahead so the meter flows more smoothly.  This subject is one of the very essences of poetry.  And yes, I have also seen others cry or chuckle upon reading some of my words.
Will
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