Search This Blog

Friday, July 1, 2011

Voice Among Voices

I listen to a lot of podcasts, a lot of podcasts. I'm listening to one right now as I type (the Leonard Lopate show, if you are interested). Mostly I listen to poetry and science. Poetry interviews, poetry readings, and poetry craft talks (these are harder to come by), and science, anything about science I will listen to.

Why have I become addicted to podcasts (and yes, it is bordering on an addiction)? One reason is that living in Japan, I miss having a writing community and this helps a little. Another reason is that I miss hearing English, any English, even drivel, even nonsense. I can go whole days without hearing any English other than my elementary-aged kids' ramblings, and one of them has to be cajoled to speak in English. I just want to hear English. (I want to talk in English too, but haven't found such an easy solution to that problem.)

So I listen to a lot of poetry podcasts and have become somewhat sensitive to the voices of poets when they read their work. Intonation, pitch, speed, pronunciation, pauses, all of it. I'm paying attention to it. And yesterday I heard a poet read her own work in a voice that was mellifluous, absolutely perfectly phrased, pitched, modulated, and inflected. I even found myself just listening to the music of her voice and ignoring the words, a big mistake because her poems are tiny wonders even when read off the page by the voice in my head.

You may be wondering who this poet was. It was Keetje Kuipers, reading for KQED's The Writer's Block series. Click on the link to hear Kuipers's lush tones.

Do you have a poet who you particularly enjoy listening to? If so, please share, and include links to audio if you know of any.

And now, in totally unrelated news, did you hear that the University of Oxford has done away with the Oxford comma (the comma after the penultimate item in a series or list)? It makes me feel slightly ill just to think of it. I am rather passionate about punctuation. (I have even used the Oxford comma in this post.) Thank goodness they have left the semi-colon and the em-dash alone......


Mari said...

I will continue to use the the Oxford comma; I don't care what the grammar rule-makers say!

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Me, too, Mari. Yesterday I tried writing a sentence without the Oxford comma, and it's still on my mind, irritating me.