Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thanks to Yael Tomashov-Hollander...

...for opening me up to another dimension of poetry.

Yael is the editor of a poetry journal -- Almanac. She lives in Tel Aviv. She has recently persuaded me to try recording some of my poems. What a groovy experience for me! Now...whether or not I am a good reader is not the point. And I might or might not put some of my readings on a page-player.

What's important and fascinating to me (someone who has never done public or private readings) is how the lines can come to life. With characterization, with expressiveness. Sometimes the poem conceals its inner life. Sometimes certain aspects are only implicit or latent on the silent page.

This reminds me of what the pianist Alfred Brendel said about some of Mozart's concertos. About how they lack many markings -- dynamic indications. About how the interpreter has to gauge the overall tone or context of the piece and, from that, discern when and how to provide emphases and inflections.

I've recorded three of my poems so far. Simply reading the poem on the silent page is one thing. One moves through the general tone, through the prosody, through the lines breaks. But some things, I think, are missed, or only halfway excavated. Reading the poem aloud, one breathes into it those emphases and inflections. Discovers those little places for a pause. Discovers a word here and there that can be given a certain coloration -- ironic, bemused, chagrined, enchanted.

I'm sure that most of the poets I know here are experienced public or private readers. But this is new for me, and I'm enjoying it a great deal.

Thanks so much, Yael!

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