Poetry Out Loud

Poppy-flowersI am not a big poetry reader.  When reading it, not only do I miss the availability, and to my ears, the fluidity of prose, but I have to admit that I often don’t hear the rhythm of it.  But poetry read out loud, preferably by the poet, never fails to infuse it with a heart and beat that my silent reading fails to.  Even now I recall two different poets saying the words “yellow” and “blue” in their poems in such a lyrical way so that years later I still don’t hear those words in quite the same way.  Or the memory of another referring to “some back porch, we can neither wish for nor recall” still invokes a sense of nostalgia even though I have little personal experience of back porches.  It need not be the author who reads their work.  I remember Linda Griffiths, in her fabulous play about Gwendolyn MacEwen, quoting “I have spoken to it in a foreign tongue, I have stroked its neck in the night like wish”.  It is for this reason, I think, that I missed hearing “In Flanders Fields” at an ANZAC Day service.  That poem, at least in Canada, is inevitably recited by a school kid who never fails to bring the poppies to life.

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