Wednesday, May 9, 2018

“Poet voice”

From Atlas Obscura: An Algorithmic Investigation of the Highfalutin “Poet Voice.” You know, that ineptly . . . musical voice? The one that rises? And falls where you least . . . expect it? Poet voice (or as I call, poetry voice) tells an audience that the person reading is a poet, the real thing, because this is what poetry sounds like. One voice fits all.

And now I’m reminded of an observation from the poet David Bromige, posted to the SUNY-Buffalo Poetics List, January 10, 1997. He’s writing about teaching poetry to college students and about the damage done by high school:

They cd only recognize a poem when it was in the missionary position. That a poem might be as opaque as a person, capable of many kinds of caress, much playful laughter, of brooding withholding silences, of orderly thought or persuasive choplogic, of trivial drivel, of witty observations — that it might even be a dreadful machine psychotic — they had not been permitted, though in their years of sturm and drang, to realize.
And now I’m hearing Frank O’Hara in my head: “Lana Turner has collapsed!” Not poet voice: a poet.

Two related posts
Here’s a poem for today : Marjorie Perloff on the “well-crafted” poem

[I’ve borrowed a description of poetry voice from a post about a 2015 Toyota commercial.]

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