Voice Alpha

on reading poetry aloud for an audience

Kristin reads ‘How To Make A Raft’


This week the Voice Alpha gang is challenging itself to read a list poem – How To Make A Raft by Elisa Albo, a poem donated by the poet to Voice Alpha‘s list of poems for which the authors have given advance recording permission for Dear Voice Alpha, the VA reading advice program. Feel free to add your observations on the readings. If you would like to send in a reading of How To Make A Raft for Voice Alpha critique, email the MP3 to nic_sebastian at hotmail dot com.

Kristin’s reading

Kristin’s comments

Clearly I need better recording equipment–I’ve been using what came built in with the laptop.

Dick’s comments

No problem audio-wise for me. Clear as a bell. I like the businesslike tone here. This is advice and guidance delivered with authority. I might well take it! I like the quality of Kristin’s voice. The cool, dry tone brings a detachment and objectivity to the reading, which serves the value and importance of the information and advice.

Donna’s comments

The voice is very business-like and matter-of-fact, probably the most “instructional” reading of the bunch, as if directions were being read from a booklet. I like the way you changed the tone on “a sail, a symbol, a word.” The over-enunciation of “little” toward the end threw me a little, although I really liked the way the “don’ts” were pronounced.

Nic’s comments

I thought you had good energy in this reading, as well as clear diction & good breath control. It’s tough reading a list poem, especially one of this length, where the central challenge is to introduce enough variety of tone, energy and speed to make the various lists interesting. Probably a poem like this might reward more careful preparation than most, with active thought given to how one would read the different sections, combining changes in speed, tone and volume to introduce that variety. There could have been more variety in most of our readings (including my own), I think.

Author: Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

2 thoughts on “Kristin reads ‘How To Make A Raft’

  1. Here’s my confession to Donna, and anyone else who’s interested: I overenunciated “little” because I had messed up that line 3 times before, and I was running out of time, and determined not to mess up by stumbling over that word for the 4th time!

  2. Perhaps it is the recording, the recorded message quality, or perhaps Kristin’s reading, but I got the sense of being in the woods with, like the Girl Guides, or a wilderness survival group, and being given instructions on how to carry out what might be the single biggest challenge of ‘my’ life (the total change alluded to in the poem) in a matter-of-fact tone that normalized the horrendous somehow. I felt I was with a group of others who had signed up for the total wipe-out experience, and we were all listening to directions given with an Air Hostess calm. I thoroughly enjoyed this sense this reading of the poem gave me.

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