When she contacted me about this month of poetry posts, Serena made the suggestion that we record a vlog of us reading our favorite poems, and I wish I had time (or the guts) to do that and share it with you. I’ve been thinking about that suggestion all week, though, and about how important it is for poetry to be spoken.
I love reading poetry out loud, though usually when I’m by myself. I’m a little bit self conscious of my voice when I’m recorded or when people are listening, but because of that, it feels like a very private thing. When the house is quiet and there is no one else around, you can often find me reading a poem to no one but myself.
Some days it’s a poem that is just dying to read, that I want to hear and feel in a way that I can’t when I’m reading silently. Sometimes it’s a poem that I’ve written myself, and I’m reading it out loud to make sure that it sounds the way it reads. Often, though, it’s a poem that I don’t really understand or one that I don’t particularly like. Sometimes, things that are hidden when you read a poem are uncovered when you speak it. A poem that gives me trouble will unfold and become clear when I say it out loud. A poem that I didn’t find particularly clever is suddenly genius when I can hear exactly what the poet wanted me to hear. It doesn’t always happen, but poetry is, often, meant to be spoken out loud and I can miss things when I read them.
When I’m proofreading, I often read out loud. I hear mistakes better than I see them. (I’m sure this is terribly annoying for anyone who asks me to edit something, especially at work.) In that same way, I hear the beauty of a poem before I might see it. When I review books of poetry or post poems on my blog, I often get comments about how difficult poetry is, but I’m a big believer that a lot of poetry is for the masses. Some of it is difficult for sure, but it’s just like any other medium. If anything has been my mantra since I started blogging about poetry it’s this: there is a poem out there for you. If reading poetry hasn’t done it for you so far, can I just suggest that you read it out loud? You never know what you might hear.
This post is part of Serena’s National Poetry Month Blog Tour. You can check out the rest of the participants here!