Friday, May 14, 2010

Do Not Go Gentle: Notes On Reading Poetry Outloud

One of the best things about poetry on the Internet is that it is easy to access poets reading poems. I'm not sure, in this above example, of "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night," if this is Dylan Thomas or not, but if it is, I'm struck by how powerful and certain his voice is.

The first time I heard Sylvia Plath's voice, I was really surprised by it. Even now, there is something about her voice that feels foreign to me, like the voice doesn't quite fit the words. Her voice is so proper; she makes me think of good, elite breeding, New England winters on Seven Sisters campuses, quiet nights on a summer's coast. Her words are so angry, so reckless, so unlike her voice. I love the juxtaposition. "And then I knew what to do." You can just barely hear her say "do" at that moment; it's almost a whisper.
The best poems are the ones that, when read outloud, haunt your dreams. There's something haunting in both of these poets.

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