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.
I have always said that I would listen to Nic read my grocery list or the phone book, so gorgeous is her voice. This reading doesn’t disappoint. I love the lilt when Nic says “bread.” I love the variety in the reading of the various lists in this poem, with various emphases, like the before-mentioned “bread.” It means that when there’s not much variety (like when she reads the things to sell or give away before leaving), we know that this list is less important.
Interesting way to read “Muy bien” at the end–almost a little dark.
Nic’s voice is so lovely – I like the short pause after the second “you’ll need” – like the speaker is thinking about what is necessary. Again, interesting how the sell/giveaway list moves more quickly. I love the way Nic says, “You’re free.” The “Muy bien” seems more like a resigned “very well” than a literal “very good.” Great reading, as always.
For me, this reading captures the musicality of the poem in a way that maybe the others, in their personalisation of the voice, locate less effectively. This is a function of Nic’s vocal qualities and characteristics and her judicious attention to pace and rhythm. As for that downbeat ‘muy bien’, I’m going to identify a sense of Old Country phlegmatic irony that comes part and parcel with Nic’s impeccable English accent!
My complaint with this reading is that there isn’t enough variety among the various lists – I think this poem would have rewarded more conscious preparation and active decisions about where to speed and slow down, instead of just letting one’s voice take imperatives from the text without thinking too much about it. I’m glad Kristin suggested this exercise – not an easy challenge but a very worthwhile one.