I had this epiphany the other day, that I’ll preface by confessing that I’ve never been a huge fan of poetry or of reading plays. With all due respect to Shakespeare, trying to read something in play form makes my eyes glaze over even faster than grappling with tax forms. I’d somehow missed the notion that some things were meant to be read aloud. The other day I happened upon Lorena McKennitt’s song The Highwayman. As I listened to it, I realized the lyrics were from Alfred Noyes poem.
Here I’ve been all this time not appreciating an exceptional piece of writing because it just didn’t do much on the page. (Or because I’d encountered it first in 8th grade when, apparently, I didn’t appreciate anything.) I’ve spent some time since thinking about how important performance and presentation are, and realizing at last why people do readings at writing conferences. (This means there’s going to be a blog about Toastmasters coming up in the immediate future.) Before I tackle that topic, however, I’ll suggest that, in an age of ready media access, maybe it’s time to replace textbooks on poetry and plays with recordings of the real thing in classrooms. We should retain the written versions for purists, but students should have the chance to experience poetry in its best form.
I love books, but I’m starting to love the magic of the human voice even more. That said, check out Omnia‘s rendition of The Raven. (Okay, even for not being a poetry fan, I’ve always loved this one, even just silent on the page.)