This week the Voice Alpha gang is reading Wonder Woman, the poem donated by Collin Kelley to Voice Alpha‘s list of poems for which the authors have given readers permission in advance to record for Dear Voice Alpha, the VA reading advice program. We’ll end the week with a Voice Alpha critique of a reading of the poem by the poet himself. Feel free to add your observations on the readings to the comments. If you would like to send in a reading of Wonder Woman for Voice Alpha critique, email the MP3 to nic_sebastian at hotmail dot com.
Kristin’s reading starts out a little flat and disinterested. When she gets to the lines about the costume, she seems to come to life. Loved the tone change for the word “truth” – very superhero! The reading is very articulate and clear, and the line breaks are handled well.
One criticism would be that, although articulate, the reading lacks emotion. As a reader, I think that the poem deals with wonder, disappointment, and affection, and I struggled to hear those in the reading.
Dear Kristin – Your volume, clarity of diction, breath control and pacing are all good, in my view. There is a lack of variety and inflection in your tone, though, and I don’t feel you are ‘inhabiting’ the piece overall (although there is a brilliant moment in L13 – I love the way you said ‘the truth’ – so evocative!). I suspect this may be a function of reading into a voice recorder, rather than directly to an audience.
Hi, Kristin! Your words in this reading are very well enunciated. I can hear you getting your lips around every word without it seeming like a challenge. It may be natural for you, but I point it out because it’s something I struggle with in my own readings.
Otherwise, I wanted you to embody the piece a bit more. One easy thing that may help that is pacing — a slower reading with longer pauses. I feel that way because the narrator is remembering, and when we remember pivotal moments like this we are examining them even as we tell them and that slows us down in a good way.
Another thing to remember is that this is a narrative piece, which makes me go in my brain to all the wonderful storytellers I’ve heard in live performance. They create an aura with the tone of their voices (and the pacing, as well): “I’m going to tell you an amazing story,” it seems to say. And then they tell an amazing story (which this is).
More wonder, please! It may be that this poem is just wrong for you — if you don’t feel it, you don’t feel it.