Or, so it is for me.
Stephen Edward Ambrose, noted historian and author of more than thirty books, said, “Reading your own poetry forces you to listen.” Alas, reading my poems aloud forces me to listen to my listeners.
I am fortunate to have observers in my sphere who offer their perspectives on my poetry readings and who universally point out that I to speak the words too hurriedly to be properly discerned.
They mention, also, that I need to not only enunciate more clearly but to raise the volume of my voice to be better heard. And so it is that I prefer that they, and others read my poems for themselves.
But then the feedback I receive is rather strange. Many a reader has pointed out specific concepts in my work that I did not compose. Yes, I clearly see their point, and no, I didn't write that.
So, on the one hand, how does the poet perfectly orate the poem faithfully without becoming theatrical about it? And on the other, what am I to make of such varied interpretations of my work?
Firstly, since the voice I hear while writing a poem differs vastly from my normal speaking voice, and drastically so from my recital voice, I should probably consider enrolling in a local speech class.
But, as to the second issue of the reader’s interpretation diverging from my muse’s intentions in a poem, I often find their take on my work amusing, enlightening, and entertaining, and that’s okay.
This issue of reading my work before a live audience has lead me to much head scratching, and to wondering whether these phenomenon are common to poets at large or reserved solely for me.
To misquote Dr. McCoy: “I’m a poet, Jim, not a performer!”