Petersen: Kleichen and a Man by George Szirtes
50 secs, poem text
Most days, I listen to someone reading poetry, even if it’s just clicking on the Poetry Foundation Poem of the Day in my news reader. I also stop listening very quickly if it doesn’t go right, and by that, I mean, does the reader establish an end-of-line or end-of-phrase note and keep returning to it throughout the reading? If not, I’ll keep listening. George Szirtes (about whom I know pretty much nothing else) avoids this phenomenon, and I like that.
Test your own reading. Pretend the reading is a musical performance for a solo instrument and listen to the note that sounds at the end of most lines or phrases. If you hear the same end-of-line note repeated throughout the reading, go back and deliberately vary it each time. It’s a trap easily fallen into (speaking from experience here) but, once identified and acknowledged, also easily escaped from. (See comments below for an example).