Voice Alpha

on reading poetry aloud for an audience

Donna 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

Donna’s reading

Kristin’s comments
I like Donna’s strong voice, especially when she says, “To have had it up to here.” I like the almost plaintive sound when she says, “forever.” When she says, “If you make it,” the stress on the if reminds me of the hazardous nature of this trip. At first the echoey effect distracted me, but by the end, I almost decided that I liked it, that it was a nice effect. It may not have been done on purpose, but it works with the message of the poem, the tunneling effect of immigration.

Donna ‘s comments
The echo was unintentional – I forget to push the “no effects” button on Garageband, and this was my best reading, so I didn’t want to redo it!

Nic’s comments
Donna – I enjoyed your reading and thought you did the best job overall of differentiating between the various lists using pace, tone and volume. Your reading had good energy and good texture for me – I felt you jumped right into the poem and put it on in a brisk, no-nonsense sort of way and read it to us from the inside very convincingly. Nice job!!

Dick’s comments
I enjoyed the businesslike, practical, purposeful tone of the entire reading. And I’m with Nic on the differentiation between the lists. The only inconsistency for me is one that’s maybe more a function of the poem than the reading, namely, the urgency of the advice to retain papers and ‘phone numbers, which is then undercut by the gloomy prediction that they’ll all be lost at sea. There is in this a momentary denial of the positivity of the instructions and advice. I found this the trickiest bit to negotiate in my reading. It was indeed a challenging poem to read! All in all, I agree with Nic that Donna put in the most effective 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 “Donna reads ‘How To Make A Raft’

  1. I actually liked the echo, it gave a sense of a stage, a drama. The poem describes an inner melodrama, the maelstrom of a life, what’s being tossed out (nearly everything) and new beginnings. This is major stuff in a lifeline. Reading with an even clip gave the directions in the poem even more import. I enjoyed Donna’s reading.

  2. Thanks, everyone. Sorry I have not posted recently – I appreciate all of your comments, and I enjoyed the challenge of reading a list poem. It also made me want to write one.

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