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When reading in How to Write a Poem, one of the chapters talks about how to read your poetry out loud to a group. I have to admit, I hadn’t really thought about this too much. It makes sense though, to pay attention to the poem that you are reading, so you can give the words all the weight, and the lines the feel that the author intends.
When you read your poetry, or poems written by others, these are some of the things to pay attention to.
Lines And Punctuation:
In a recent poem I wrote I used these words and lines
For after mourning,
the dawn will come.
Reading those lines quickly such as weeping, wailing, mouring arise. For after mourning, the dawn will come. Doesn’t sound the same as if you read
Weeping, wailing (pause) mourning arise (short pause) For after mourning (pause) the dawn will come. (longer pause). You need to give the appropriate breaks as the lines and punctuation call for. Don’t over do it with watching the line breaks, or give the wrong sort of weight to the punctuation.
Slow down in reading. Take the time to savour the words and remember, you aren’t reading a report, you are reading a poem. Words that are meant to say more than just the words written. Let those words live, express them well verbally and don’t be afraid to use your body as well. Let your poetry come alive for what you are communicating is emotion and the story.
You will find as you read over a poem in preparation for reading it aloud that certain sections will resonate with you more than others. Emphasize those sections, let the truth, or the emotion, of those sections ring out to your listeners. Slow down, modulate the tone, volume and pitch of your voice, and let your connection with the words show. This connection will show the importance of these words and draw your listeners in.
Remember this, you are a human, reading to other humans. You aren’t reading to a wall or to a robot where how you present yourself doesn’t matter. Practice before you set out…memorizing bits of it of if you can, remember to look at your audience not worrying if it takes a moment to regain your spot, read with confidence and good posture and enjoy what you are doing. Sharing good poetry with others.
Even though I used poetry as an example, each of these four points is worth remembering if you are reading any story outloud. The need to remember how the story is written. This was recently made very real to me in a story I am listening to on audible. The main character was running away… Bush. Bramble. Thorns. Thicket. Branch. Duck. Weave. These staccato word burst of out the speaker bringing to life the fear she had as she ran heedless into the forest. The reader did an excellent job of bringing the emotion to life.