Voice Alpha

on reading poetry aloud for an audience


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“Call for poet voice”

This intriguing call dates from March 2014 at Sound Literary Magazine – haven’t found yet where/if results have been published, but would be curious to see them.

Yes, we want to hear your idea of poet voice.

To submit, please choose a poem (your own or someone else’s) and record a video of yourself reading it twice:

1. First with poet voice
2. Then in the voice you think it’s best communicated in

They then link to a video of a volunteer demonstrating a double-aspect submission. I actually don’t think she did badly in both cases, mainly because she avoids the trap of the end of line note


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‘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)


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‘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)


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Love Bill Murray but maybe he shouldn’t read Wallace Stevens?

It may be a good reading, but I can’t tell – it’s so slooooooow.

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