Sunday, September 10, 2006

Back Link A Simple Truth

Poetry’s a zoo in which you keep demons and angels” Les Murray

A while ago, my brother sent me this link of a poetry website called, The Poetry Archive. An explanation of the site goes as follows:

“The Poetry Archive is the world's premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their work.”

It is a revelation to hear poets recite their poems. It might be apparent to you all, but listening to poems in the last weeks has made me aware of a simple truth, and that is, the only way to live or experience or understand a poem is to hear the author’s speak the words. To read a poem is a very poor substitute to hearing. Without the voice… its intonation, articulation, accent, so much meaning is lost.

For example, listen to Jackie Kay reminisce about her imaginary friend, Brendon Gallacher. Brilliant. And all the more so, for her warm Scottish accent.

Or, try listening to Polly Peters read about how painful bullying can be in her and Andrew Fusek Peters’ poem, Bruises Heal.


Blogger christine from luebeck, germany said...

I find Lia`s opinion that listening to the author is the only way of understanding a poem a bit extreme. What about the poems of authors who died long ago? No chance to understand them? What about music, by the way? Would the only way of understanding Mozart`s music be listening to him playing? Interpreting poems and interpreting music are very much the same thing, basically, and listening to the author can give interesting hints. But how much pleasure can be gathered from trying to seek the truth behind words or keys of music written down long time ago.

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