Wednesday 23 March 2011

How to read out loud

Someone who is not really into poetry said to me at the weekend that he "got" my poems better when he heard me read them out loud. To begin with I was perturbed by this but then I realised that a most of my best work is MEANT to be read aloud. This doesn't work so well for the series of prose poems that I have been writing though, I just don't seem to know how to read them out. Tonight I am thinking that I might have to lay them out on the page differently for reading out - maybe breaking the text up. I am reluctant to do this though - they are written as prose poems surely they should be read out as such? - if I need to divide them up to read them better then surely that should be how I present them too? It's a dilemma.

And talking of reading aloud I saw Alice Oswald read at UEA a couple of weeks ago and she was awesome.  The best reader I have seen since I saw Robin Robertson last year.  I love her work anyway but she was a mesmerising reader, absolutely spell-binding.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Whether to Read Out Loud

Over the last year or so I have been writing a series of prose poems that are written in the specific voice of a youngish girl. I like the poems but I am feeling unsure how well they will work when read aloud (especially in my adult voice). My question is are there times when poems work better on the page than read aloud or do I just need to bite the bullet and have a go at reading them?  I like to think that most good poetry works well read out loud and that in fact poetry SHOULD be read out loud wherever possible. I am not sure why am feeling so uncertain about this particular sequence, especially because I think the work itself is quite strong.  I guess you know where you are with more regular poem shapes - you have the line breaks that give you indicators of where to pause when reading. In theory the punctuation should serve the same purpose in a prose poem, however the nature of the poems is that they are written in a stream of conciousness style, which is easier to cope with on the page than read out loud.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Things that stop you writing

Writing and editing are slow at the moment. I have lots of good excuses for this - I am too busy, my work space has been suffering a plague of noise from the builders across the road, I am lacking in inspiration, worry about money, trying to find work, needing to go on a trip etc. The truth is that they are all true and none of them are. I am indeed suffering from being busy and lack of inspiration - but what exactly is it that makes us write? And what is it that at other times brings the creative process to a grinding halt. It is all to easy to blame outside factors but as any good Zen master would tell you peace and creativity come from within. When I am stressing about money, work or noise it is because I am choosing to hear those niggly worrying voices inside me over the calmer more creative ones. This is probably why many people take up meditation (and I have lots of good reasons for not doing that either!) it can put you in touch with that calmer part of your psyche.

I am feeling like I need to make a real effort to claim back my creative life from all the other things that I am allowing to encroach on it. Wish me luck...