Voice Alpha

on reading poetry aloud for an audience

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‘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

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‘in sleep I drew a sausage’

Not fair to say it, since voice timbre is not really under anyone’s control, but I found this one pretty painful listening, recording quality aside.

His Carpets Flowered by Lorine Niedecker (2 min 10 secs)

poem text

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yes and no


The Obsoletion of a Language by Kay Ryan
poem text


Winter Solstice Chant by Annie Finch
poem text

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Carol Ann Duffy – not so much

Ouch. Really a case where a poet would be so much better off getting someone else to read their poems for them.

She reads her poem You here. More of her readings here.


using voice to investigate and internalize

Love this post from Anthony Madrid.

When I was in the middle phase of dissertation writing, I developed a technique of reading I found so helpful and enriching that I want to urge it upon the whole world. This technique is a simple thing—“obvious”—yet I was forty before it ever occurred to me to do it. Now I can’t imagine my life as a serious reader of poetry without it. I’ll tell you the back story.


I am fearfully and wonderfully made – and so are you

watch this beautiful child

(cross-posted at Very Like A Whale)

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’twas the night before Christmas – Jim Meskimen

No mention of Christmas at Voice Alpha yet this year – getting these Jim Meskimen voice gymnastics in under the wire. Merry Christmas!

More on Jim Meskimen at Voice Alpha.


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