Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Note on Reading for Linebreak

22º and clear skies, enough sun to turn off the table lamp

As yesterday's post announced, Linebreak currently features a poem by George David Clark, "A Crossing," and I am the voice for this week's recording. Recording someone else's work was an eye-opening (or maybe ear-opening) experience. I was anxious about doing the poem and the poet justice. Perhaps adding a bit to this was the fact that I knew the poet personally (although the folks at Linebreak didn't know of this connection). If I screwed it up, I'd feel awful when GDC and I next met.

When I received the poem, I had about five days to get the recording done. I spent the first two days reading and re-reading the poem aloud whenever I passed by my desk. This turned into a close examination of the line breaks (as the title of the journal suggests) and to the meaning and sound of individual words. Rather than this being a work of my own with which I was intimate, now I had to decide where to place emphasis, where to pause slightly, fully, or not at all. I had to take my cues from the author. I must say that I always encourage my students to read aloud, and I do as well, but this kind of rehearsal with the goal of a recording prompted an even deeper reading on my part. On day three I sat down at the computer to record (I use Audacity...thanks, Sean!) I think I ended up with 6 failed takes before I was satisfied with my recitation, but by and large, I'm still happy with the result. I learned a lot from this exercise and am thankful to the editors and the poet for the opportunity. If you'd like to try it, just email the editors and ask for your shot. I highly recommend it!

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