Voice Alpha

about reading poetry aloud for an audience

Leave a comment

audio contest – “You decide your entry fee!”

At the Missouri Review:


Poets are encouraged to enter an original poem or collection of poems as a single audio file for this category.

Judging will be based on the following criteria: literary merit, technical proficiency, and how the author uses audio media to further the literary strength of his or her piece.

Time: 15 minutes or less.
First Prize: $1,000

You can listen to last year’s winner, Laurel Bastian, read the winning entry here. (She starts reading at about 1 min 38 secs in). Excellent reading.


‘how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing’

Couldn’t resist this one. Beyond the fact that it seems to be some sort of ecstatic religious aubade, no idea what this poem is saying. And I find the reading overly-dramatic, not to say histrionic. But am still caught by the reader’s near-ecstatic enthusiasm for the words. See what you think.

The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins, read by Hugh Schwartzberg (poem text)

Leave a comment

‘We shape our self’

Interesting recitation here from UK poet David Whyte. The poet has memorized the poem, but not to full fluency and accuracy. He flubs the wording a few times, and uses the technique of repetition to help him over thin gaps. It’s only when you look at the text that you can see where the repetition is unintended. In the video, it sounds as if the repetitions might be part of the piece.

Working Together by David Whyte (poem text)

Leave a comment

‘when memory shakes open its prize’

Speaking of timbre, here’s a nice, warm, dense voice:

Song Beside the Barn Wall by Alice Templeton (1 min 37 secs)
poem text


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.