Reading Poetry Aloud
Reading poetry aloud requires special consideration due to its uniqueness as a literary art form. It is a far more compact means of communication and relies more heavily on musical and metaphorical language than is the case with prose. Every word counts for so much more in a poem, and the messages communicated through poetry are typically presented in a far more condensed and lyrical form than in prose writing. As such, poetry is truly intended to be heard as well as seen particularly because of its lyrical quality. Unfortunately, poetry is not generally as appreciated as is prose. All the more reason to share poetry with audiences by reading it aloud with enthusiasm yet with a sensitivity to its uniqueness.
Because of its condensed nature, poetry can sometimes appear obscure; the meaning of a poem difficult to determine with any specificity. This obscurity is, in fact, a strength of the genre. A poem opens the possibility to multiple interpretations, thus capable of engaging each individual who experiences it in a very personal way. Yet this special quality also presents the performer with a problem. As has been stated before, when choosing to read literature aloud to an audience, it is essential that you enjoy what you are sharing. In turn, this means that you must bring some meaning to the literature you choose to read aloud. This single selection principle is all the more critical in choosing poetry because of its relatively obscure nature and the generally negative attitudes that people have toward it. You needn't worry so much