Books: Vocalisthenics

Most modern poetry is written to be seen & not heard; much of it is (in a vocal sense at least) unspeakable. To British Poet Richard Church, this is a "monstrous state of the art." In a preface to an anthology of Poems for Speaking, recently published in Britain, he plumps hard and solemnly for 1) poems that a reader can get his mouth around, and 2) readers with muscular lips and jaws to handle what's on hand now.

To meet the standards proposed for them, poets may have to recast their whole techniques. But readers, on their part, can help themselves...

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