Reading poems aloud

A post I wrote a week ago about modifying my approach to reading poems provoked a brief exchange with one of my friends about the importance of the music of poetry . Perry insisted that poems should be read aloud, and while I agree that poems that are really and truly intended to be read aloud should be read aloud when possible, I hold that there are many poems that seem not to care too much about how they sound, and these I don’t generally bother to read aloud. In any case, our exchange provoked in me a yearning to hear poems read aloud.

I ripped my Poetry Speaks CDs to my iPod, thinking they’d be better fare for running at the gym than Fox News and ESPN have been of late. Unfortunately, they’re too quiet to hear very well over the gym’s sounds. I suggested to Perry that it might be fun to get a few people together to read aloud poems they find especially well-suited to such a presentation (and written by others than themselves). Of course, I’m prone to stage fright and don’t typically like to put myself on display, and I don’t know that I’m an especially good reader. This state of affairs is made worse by the fact that I’m terribly self-conscious for a number of reasons about being interested in poetry and especially about being public about my interest.

Anyway, I decided to take the plunge, and I invited Perry and another friend who has previously expressed an interest in poetry to join me in reading poems aloud. So tonight, we three grown men will convene and read poetry to one another. I’ll be reading the following:

  • “Strand” (by Atsuro Riley, whom I’ve covered here before)
  • “Inversnaid” (by G. M. Hopkins, covered with Riley above)
  • “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (by T.S. Eliot)
  • excerpts from “Green” (by a guy I used to know named Jim Standish)

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