I realized, I just can’t read poetry in a manner that sounds like ‘string of meaningful words set to a rhythm and rhyme’ to audience. Here is how my attempts at reading a poem by Ginger Andrews sounded.
“cleaning out my refrigerator
and thinking about writing a religious poem
that somehow combines feeling sorry for myself
with ordinary praise, when my nephew stumbles in for coffee
to wash down what looks like a hangover
and get rid of what he calls hot dog water breath.
I wasn’t going to bake the cake”
My first attempt:
“cleaninoutmyrefri and thinkiabouwritirelegious…..”
So my director goes, “No, you are going too fast! Slow down a bit. Lets do it again”
My second attempt:
“cleaningout my refrigerat A-n-d thinginabout…”
“No No No! Still very fast! Speak each word clearly. People should understand it”, says a visibly frustrated and concerned director. Okay, realization is slowly dawning on me that people are not getting even a single word of poem, and all this while I assumed that they are spell bound by my deep baritone.
My Third attempt:
“(cough)…(cough again) cleaning out mY REFRIGERATOR (clearing my throat) andthingingabout….^&%$….”
Director: (wordless initially and then says)…Go again
“Dgingdoushou chingne totou gimshe ktainshignhm…”
By 7th attempt it sounded like an entirely different language, something that might have been a child born if Latin and Sinhalese made love to each other.
(Few more attempts)
Now, I am just doing it so that my director can fill pages for his book, “How NOT to read Poetry”.
Unanimous agreement by my theater group: Some people just can’t read poetry, no matter how hard they try.
I have started to believe that I might be the connecting link between human species that started reading poetry aloud to people, and the species that carved paintings on stone -I can read a poem but it sounds like a stone rubbing against another stone, and on its way it creates an artistic cacophony.