Voice Alpha

on reading poetry aloud for an audience

Dave 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.

All ‘Raft’ readings

Dave’s reading

Kristin’s comments
I like the conversational style. I might have also liked a bit more variety in the reading of the lists, to let me know what the reader thinks is important. I like the warm way that Dave says “Your dog.” I like that the list of possessions to be sold or given away is read through with a bit of a rush–since to me, it’s the least important of these lists.

Donna’s comments
I had a hard time with the hard accent on the first syllable of “aspirin” – it threw me out of the warm conversational tone. And although I love the friendly tone, by the end there was not enough vocal variety for me to stay with the lists. I really like the speed (like in Dick’s reading) of the list to sell/give away.

Nic’s comments
I like the warm, casual, almost lazy tone of the first part – ‘a back door, a compass’ and ‘Aspirin, some honey’ struck me as particularly nice. The “take” list in S3 slowed a little too much for my liking, but I appreciated the effort to introduce differences in tone & pacing in this long list poem. Not an easy read!

Dick’s comments
I agree about the warmth of the reading, which for me provided supportive and personalised advice where urgency has tended to inform the other readings. The slight speed-up of the delivery of the list of items to be dumped reflected, for me, a sense of their absolute disposability at a time of such crisis. It’s the only moment in the reading in which any urgency seeps in – which, intentionally or not, lends an interesting counterpoint to the overall tone of the reading.

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 “Dave reads ‘How To Make A Raft’

  1. Thanks, guys! I am a little abashed that I wasn’t able to reurn the favor by critiquing your own readings (such a press of things to do before I take off for three weeks on Sunday) but these reactions are really helpful.

  2. Dave’s down-home, conversational style caught the irony of the poem for me. There was a little laughter in his voice. The list is quite extensive, and detailed. It seems far-fetched, to actually leave and sell or give away everything listed in this poem, and yet a whole life is contained in these images, and there is the promise of freedom from the possessiveness of possessions in the final lines. Dave’s reading brought the surreality of the directions of how to extricate yourself from your present life and open yourself to what may come in its stead to the fore. I enjoyed his take on the poem.

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