Voice Alpha

on reading poetry aloud for an audience

sub-zero: timbre & accent cont’d


ok, shoot me, but on the timbre and accent scale, this reading registers pretty much -0 on a scale of 1 to 10. Courtesy of Poem of the Day (and it’s a long one):

Fever 103° by and read by Sylvia Plath

3 min 16 secs

She is totally totally in love with the words, though – you can hear her absolutely relish and adore each one.

So, yes — I don’t know.

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.

8 thoughts on “sub-zero: timbre & accent cont’d

  1. As a long time devotee of Plath I’m biased. I know plenty of people don’t like her delivery. They think she sounds starchy, or false. For me, the love of the language comes through–the passion that exults in the juiciness and the anger that bites her words off–sells me.

  2. Yes. we really should not be swayed by accent and timbre,as I said in an earlier post on this issue. And, despite disliking Plath’s accent and the timbre of her voice, I can definitely see and appreciate the passion and the sheer good-readingness in her delivery.

    So – I dunno… QED…?

    Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!

  3. She’s like the poetry-reading equivalent of an opera singer — a too-muchness here that I sense could be quite addictive.

  4. There’s an emotional intensity to her reading that had me absolutely transfixed. I couldn’t separate that out from the timbre, accent, pronunciation, or clear relish in the sonic shapes of the words themselves. I loved her work for many years, then let go. This reading has renewed my adoration and I must go explore more of her readings.

  5. Hey Brenda! Yes -’emotional intensity’ is right – she absolutely inhabits the poem she is reading.

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