Sound Reading

Peter Quartermain

in Close Listening

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780195109924
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855261 | DOI:
Sound Reading

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  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


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The chapter focuses on the idea whether it is possible to read a poem aloud badly and whether it might be possible to read a poem aloud well. This chapter also presents what constitutes “poetic” and “unpoetic” throughout the discussion. Poetry readings take place in a great variety of conditions, and the contingencies attendant upon the occasion affect the reading performance itself. Texts that are familiar to the audience might well be heard in a more critical frame than would texts that are completely new to the hearers. This might suggest that a poem, then, would best be read in the dialect of its maker. The difficulty in voicing the poem, though it has something to do with our understanding of the work, may also have to do with a kind of tentative polyvocality, a simultaneity of possible tones and interpretations, possible inside the head but impossible of public performance.

Keywords: sound reading; poetic; unpoetic; poetry readings; voicing the poem; polyvocality

Chapter.  6831 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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