Oral Interpretation

As a writer, I tend to focus the most on words, but poetry involves so many other factors. One of the main ideas that stuck out to me in the Oral Interpretation assignment was that sound is one of the most important aspects of poetry. Although this seems obvious, I often fail to pay close attention to sound when I write poetry, at least initially. However, as the assignment stated, poetry is meant to be read aloud, so the word choice and structure must flow nicely. After reading Dr. Jerz’s Poetry Is For The Ear┬ápost, I was also reminded of the importance of rhyme and rhythm, especially after reading Robert Frost’s poem. Not only should sound make sense, but it can often play a larger purpose, such as the third line not rhyming with the others in Frost’s poem to add to the theme of tension present in the poem. Sound should have a purpose, which is something I often overlook.

Along with overall sound, another important aspect of poetry is how you verbally recite a poem. I watched Dr. Jerz’s video where he read through “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” which helped illustrate the importance of punctuation. If there is no punctuation at the end of a line, then you should not pause, or else you could change the meaning of the entire poem. Reading with emotion is also important, which like Dr. Jerz, is something I gained a better understanding of when I read stories aloud to a six-year-old. Although showing emotion in my voice is something I have struggled with, I noticed that I slightly altered my voice for different characters and emphasized certain words and phrases more than others.

Sound and recitation are two important aspects of poetry that I will pay more attention to as I analyze poetry moving forward, which goes right along with what I am currently learning in my Introduction to Literary Study course this semester.

Source: Oral Interpretation

2 thoughts on “Oral Interpretation

  1. Rhythm is something I have also overlooked in poetry. You brought up about how Frost skips the rhythm in one the lines to create a sense of tension. I think this is really important in any close reading of literature. I have not looked closely enough at poetry before but you made some really good points here. I think both of these aspects should be looked into more deeply by everyone who reads a literary work.

  2. Reading to kids — it’s so valuable! My teenaged does a lot of theater, but like many of her peers she stumbles when doing a “cold reading” — a text she hasn’t practiced. I’ve heard some of the best teen actors in her peer group stumble when reading aloud, and parents whose kids roped them into being Villager #4 have no trouble reading aloud. It’s definitely because the parents had practice reading to their kids.

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