I’m running a bit late with this. Last night my body had the audacity to fall asleep at 11 pm and proceed to sleep for ten hours. The nerve! Then my mic was giving me static and feedback, but I finally have a slightly bass-y, but good recording I hope for John’s Poetically Versed blog.
If you haven’t yet checked it out, the idea of his reading aloud challenge is just to see the beauty of how poems sound in various voices. It’s kind of like collecting a bunch of great covers of a favorite song. I suppose it may be a tiny niche of an interest, but I think it would be fun to hear some of these poems in other voices, other accents, more or less drama, humor or seriousness. It’s not a contest to see who can read the best, but a fun way to compare how we interpret poems when we vocalize them.
For more on how the process works, you can read the latest installment over on John’s blog PoeticallyVersed.com. One of the rules, well as the pirates say, not rules but “guidelines actually,” is to not listen to the other recordings before you upload your own. That way my way of reading, or John’s or whomever’s doesn’t influence how you interpret the lines. So if you are interested, give it a quick try. Nothing fancy, just use SoundCloud or YouTube or some other easy way (John’s blog has more ideas) and then share the results in the comments at Poetically Versed.
Then after you do that, listen to my take on it below.
For this one I chose a slightly more dramatic style than I usually use. Normally my approach is “less-is-more” since my voice can be naturally very expressive without my trying to be all actor-ish about it. But listening to this one didn’t exactly make me squirm in discomfort, so maybe a touch of drama isn’t bad for this poem.
One of my questions about this piece is: Does the story in the body of Stafford’s poem disagree with his original views as expressed in the poem’s title? Do you think he believes art must come from discontent, or do you think he’s poking fun at himself by the metaphor proving he was wrong? He’s humble that way, but like Robert Frost, he can be tricky, saying more than one thing at a time, so read and think carefully before you respond. But do respond. I am not sure of my own answer yet, so I’m eager to discuss your thoughts in the comments.
Text as copied from John, follows below the recording.
- Weekly Reading Out Loud Challenge: William Stafford (poeticallyversed.com)
- Poetry Influence No. 1: “Traveling Through The Dark” (tot123itsme.com)
- Stafford on Stafford (slowmuse.com)
- Under the Poetry Tree, Reading Vultures Out Loud (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- Read Out Loud: Emily Dickinson – Follower Submission (poeticallyversed.com)