Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chat Line

I've been looking for a poem to read out loud. I thought about one from Christian Bok's new volume Eunoia, introduced to me by Kiirstin at A Book a Week, because it's so much fun to say "If Klimpt limns it/If Liszt lilts it," but I think I'll keep looking. It's one of the pleasures of this snowy week; I have another few days to come up with something good.

In the meantime, here's a kind of poem that is not fun out loud. This one, by John Menaghan, is meant to be seen:

Chat Line
(in a bus shelter)

"Are you living
with Autism?
Do you want to
talk to someone?
Call Autism
Link now.
You don't have to
go it alone!"

Are you living?
With Autism?
Do you want to?

Talk to someone.
Call Autism.
Link now.

You don't have to!
Go it alone!

Do you have a favorite poem for reading out loud? Children's poems, parodies, and nonsense rhymes are always good. Any Robert Service poem is good, as my friend Laura has repeatedly demonstrated. I love to sing an Emily Dickinson poem to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" or Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" to the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway." Sharon Olds hardly ever fails to seize an audience's attention; one of my favorites of hers for reading out loud is "The American Way," a prose poem. But I'm looking for something new. Where should I look?


Betty (Beth) said...

I always adored reading "The Hunting of the Snark" aloud when I was younger. I loved doing distinct voices for each character and the rhythms were really fun to play with.

Karen said...

I love Sharon Olds' "The Promise" (, but it may not be the best for reading aloud.

Elizabeth Bishop's "Questions of Travel" is also probably not the best, overall, but for >10 years I have remembered the image of its "disparate wooden clogs
carelessly clacking", and I wish always to have room for "one more folded sunset, still quite warm."

How about Eugene Fields' "Jest 'fore Christmas"? It's good fun! I love both it and "The Duel", from his _Poems of Childhood_.

M. Denise C. said...

How about "Out, Out--" by Robert Frost?

Or how about an epitaph from the
Spoon River Anthology?

FreshHell said...

You can't go wrong with Shel Silverstein.

Unknown said...

I love reading Jabberwocky out loud! It takes some practice (as would saying that line from Eunoia, which I am sure I would flub every time, and have, sitting here at the computer trying to say it) but once there, it's so much fun.

Thanks for the mention, btw. :)

Anonymous said...

Norton Book of Light Verse has never let me down.

Gibson's "Flannan Isle"

Is deliciously creepy if read with the right degree of drama.


Jeanne said...

Thank you for all these suggestions! I will be busily looking them up this afternoon. I made it to the college I commute to this morning despite the freezing rain, but my kids had no school once again today. I think if we search we can turn up the Douglas Hofstadter book that has Jabberwocky in three different languages....

Jeanne said...

Lemming, it did not escape my notice that one of the poems you suggest comes by way of Dr. Who!