Reading poems aloud: not just for slams, jams, and open mics

Split the Lark—and you’ll find the Music—

Bulb after Bulb, in Silver rolled—

Scantily dealt to the Summer Morning

Saved for your Ear, when Lutes be old—

            Emily Dickinson, F905A (This woman just gets it.)

This post is solely a reminder to take that extra moment to speak poems aloud. So much of the poetry that comes through the feed or via email gets a quick scan, and off it goes—lost to that too-sensory-saturated oblivion. I write poetry, and even I am guilty of dismissing the ones that come through in the busy times. Alas,  

Hear them—from the way the vowels ease or the consonants spark, from the bulk of the words and the void in the spaces between them. Everything—the selected words, the length of the phrases, the plays on the stresses, and so much more—intentionally affects the sounding and thus the interpretation…which in turn influences your own possible personal enjoyment and expanded understanding of the poem—and the poet. We always talk about her meter, but in Dickinson’s selection above, focus solely on the L sounds that move through in oral pronunciation. It’s just one more note contributing to the symphony.

So—engage that motor system and those memory pathways through reading your favorite works aloud—and don’t forget to send your favorite poets a little love, too. I hear Dickinson just adores a good gingerbread.

One thought on “Reading poems aloud: not just for slams, jams, and open mics

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