Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Neil Gaiman in his Essay Some Strangeness in the Proportion: The Exquisite Beauties of Edgar Allan Poe has this to say.

Read the poems aloud. Read the stories aloud. Feel the way the words work in your mouth, the way the syllables bounce and roll and drive and repeat, or almost repeat. Poe’s poems would be beautiful if you spoke no English (indeed, a poem like “Ulalume” remains opaque even if you do understand English — it implies a host of meanings, but does not provide any solutions). Lines which, when read on paper, seem overwrought or needlessly repetitive or even mawkish, when spoken aloud reshape and reconfigure.

(You may feel peculiar, or embarrassed, reading aloud; if you would rather read aloud in solitude I suggest you find a secret place; or if you would like an audience, find someone who likes to be read to, and read to him or to her.)

The same thing happened to me when I read Poe’s poem “The Raven”. But I digress.

Poetry is usually not my thing. I don’t read things out loud. Reading is a solitary activity for me.

But not in this case. I had no audience. But the poem simply demanded to be read out loud. Now I see on of my favourite authors writing the same thing about Poe.

Funny huh.

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