Monday, 4 May 2009

Sound and vision

OK, well here I am reciting 'Inversnaid' by Gerard Manley Hopkins. I've never heard anyone else recite or read it so I hope I haven't made any obvious mistakes. We could have edited out the ridiculously long pause I inserted between verses 2 and 3 (mind went blank...) but that would have been dishonest (get behind me, Simon Cowell, in fact go away altogether...). Anyway don't worry, I do get to the end of the poem eventually! I would have to say that I like 'Inversnaid' a lot more now than when I started learning it...which is interesting (isn't it?). I particularly like the 'rounds and rounds' bit...I almost started rotating my head when reciting as if I could see the pool. I know some of you poem-learners are having technical hiccups but if you can manage to get me a link or a small mp3 file my tech support can put yours online too. And don't be shy or worry about your funny voice. We all have funny voices! I would love to hear them all. (First completed assignment can be heard via Titus' blog. That's one damn clever dog! Brilliant. Other related posts at Sorlil's Poetry in Progress and Dave King's Pics and Poems - see blog list)

What else can you listen to whilst you're here? Well, lots of you may have heard this already but here's a radio programme about James Macpherson and the Ossian poems that I listened to whilst ironing recently. I must be getting more informed about Scottish literature (finally!) because a lot of the information wasn't new to me but I still enjoyed it and those of you further afield who are potty about Scotland (mentioning no names...Hope) will enjoy it even more. It is presented by Scottish poet Kenneth Steven and BBC programmes are usually on the player for a week from day of broadcast (it was first heard on Sunday 3rd May).

Also, seeing as she's been so in the news, I wondered if youtube had any good readings/recitals of Carol Ann Duffy poems (answer = not really). Mostly I came across half-arsed stuff by young people who could perhaps be doing something better with their time (not that I did anything full-arsed when I was young obviously...). This wealth of Duffy-related do-do is largely due to the fact that her poetry features on lots of school exam syllabuses in the UK (syllabi - not likely) so there are lots of clips by former literature students complaining about her poems as well as lots of current students reading them in...well...not a manner you would necessarily want to display on an international stage (one was in the shower fully clothed...I think). Such are the joys of the successful writer – to be so honoured! Some schools obviously get their students to reinterpret the poems they're studying using video and some of these clips are a bit more interesting (well, a bit...and they are young...). Here are a couple of school groups (one here, another here) getting to grips with the poem that got Duffy in the news last year 'Education for leisure' (and the full, properly laid-out text of the poem can be read via that link too). We didn't have video cameras or video phones (or even mobile phones) when I was at on earth did we ever learn anything? Or now I think of it...did we ever learn anything? I can hardly remember's all like a strange dream (and I've been having a lot of those recently it the Hopkins do you think...or the fact that we're now in series 4 of the Sopranos?). Going to post this now and then go to bed. What on earth will I dream of tonight?



Sorlil said...

well done you!! brave of you to do a Hopkins, such a tongue-twister of a writer.
if only I could find my mp3 player, I find myself reciting my wcw whilst walking down the street (making sure no one's behind me, of course!).

Poetikat said...

I really enjoyed listening to your voice so clearly. I haven't read any Hopkins (although I have a book filled to the brim with him).
I loved the sound of it and I fear without the accent it would rather pale. More of these please!


A very strange sort of appropriate verification word: wedewdol

Anonymous said...

Beautifully enunciated. You have a lovely speaking voice. You really brought out the musicality of the poem. You reminded me of a lovely lady I used to act with years ago. She always read poetry aloud, believing it to be the best way to improve elocution. Bravo!

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks wasn't brave...I just liked it and didn't know it at all so thought it would be a good one for this project. As somebody who loves to wander about in the wilderness (and I'll leave that fairly open...) I do love the last verse.

Kat - yes, I've not been a fan of GMH up till now (though people like Sorlil and Colin Will have tried to persuade me of his talent in the past). After learning this...well, I'm certainly a fan of this poem. One poem at a time...

And Selma...I did have some elocution classes when I was little (though they called it 'speech classes' then). I was a fairly talkative child I think so they probably sent me (it was in school and not everyone did it) to get me out of the class for some peace! I remember reading a lot of 'Paddington Bear' aloud.

No-one's mentioned any obvious mistakes yet which is good!

Titus said...

Serious congratulations! That was not an easy poem to learn or recite and you really did it justice. I do like Hopkins and it is lovely to hear the work in another voice.
And I'm with Selma on the elocution thing - one of the reasons I'm doing poems with the two youngest is because their vowels are somewhat "wandering" (a fight for primacy between Dad's Scottish and my East London). Currently one sounds like he comes from Yorkshire and one sounds like he comes from Bristol. Which I guess is no bad thing, if a little bizarre.
And now I'm going to listen to you again, because it's a good way to start a day's work.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Titus. I'm thinking I might even recite this poem at the folk club next Tuesday. I usually read my own poems but it would be nice to have a change!

Our daughter has mixed accent syndrome too...bit Yorkshire (her Dad, her Grandad), bit royal RP (her Grandma), bit Scottish (school and other Grandma)...but then I suppose she'll be like me in that sense (mine is a co Durham/bland English/southern English/Yorkshire/tiny bit of Scottish blend...sounds like a tea!).


deemikay said...

I was sure I wrote a post on GMH a few months back... but it appears I didn't. Curious. I quite like his mouthful of fifty words. And I go for all that inscape malarkey as well. (Odd how I like so many christian poets, what with me not being a christian.)

But I haver! Inversnaid, beautifully recited. :) I had a read through with you the third time and I would have chosen different stresses in a couple of places, but of course neither is right. (He always seems to swing up when I read him). But it was good to hear different ways.

He's definitely one of those get-drunk-on-the-words ones.

What have you dreamt of, by the way? I had a v. v. weird dream.

hope said...

Standing ovation!

I haven't forgotten...I just got tripped up by translations! I once came across a poem I loved by Alexander Pushkin [thought you'd appreciate the Russian touch]. It was an English translation by an actual Russian, which I've misplaced. All the ones I find of it now defeat the purpose of the poem by substituting the word "You".

If I find it, I will muddle through, even if I lose points for missing the deadline. :)

Rachel Fox said...

D - I'd be interested in your stress choices (in the poem!). Record it too!

I'm not sure I'm ready to detail dreams on here right now. Maybe another time.

Hope - there's no rush. I look forward to hearing it some time. Interesting choice too.


Ken Armstrong said...

Lovely reading, really. Don't dare edit the gap - I believe I hear a smile just as the gap ends and that is gold-dust. :)

I'm sorry I missed this challenge, I've been so busy decorating getting ready for a brace of family occasions at the end of this month and my online socialising has suffered for awhile.

It's been a wonderful idea - I hope more people record their poems and send them to you. Perhaps I will take part retrospectively if I may and give you something in a week or two? The three times I've been in a play, I've loved proving to myself that I *can* learn lots of lines. I didn't know I could do it until I did! :)

Rachel Fox said...

Ken - yes, that is a smile! I couldn't believe it took me so bloody long to remember what came next!

Please learn a poem too...the deadline ('for Monday') was really only a joke. Maybe I could even put links to them all on a webpage and we could just keep adding when they come. I can see that growing into something huge...oh well, might be fun. I quite like that they are just sound (not video on youtube or whatever). It makes you listen to the words much more.


Red Bird said...

Hello! I am a new visitor here and I really enjoyed your reading of this poem! This is one thing I have to do more of- reading poetry- my own and other's, out loud! I am looking forward to reading more here- thanks!

Rachel Fox said...

Hello RB and welcome
I see from your profile that you overuse the last...a kindred spirit!

Also I see you have just got 'The Letters'. I was part of the blog tour back in March (17th). Read the book first though...before you go and look at that. Enjoy.

green ink said...

Wow, that was very well read! What a great voice you have. I love how gorgeous the language is in Hopkins' poetry. He nearly always uses the word "dappled" as well :P

"Sound and vision" makes me think of David Bowie! Now I won't be able to get that song out of my head! ha ha


Rachel Fox said...

Thanks GI...but I think it's probably partly that it's an accent different to your own...don't you think? I don't hear any English people telling me I have a great (speaking) voice!

As for Bowie...absolutely. I find song titles and bits of song lyrics come out all the time when I'm writing, talking, thinking. There are loads in my poems...all over the place. I know far more songs than poems...probably more lines from films than poems too. I've had a fairly typical British high on pop culture/low on published poetry life...up till the more recent stages anyway.


shug said...

I think this is beyond my technical know-how, soecially now since the universal template has been compromised, but it's a very good idea indeed. I'm going to learn 'As I walked out one evening' by Auden and shout it out the back door to you at 6oclock on Sunday night. If the wind's in the right direction. Oh dear the word verification thinks that idea's PANTS. Never mind, I'll learn it anyway.

shug said...

The rent in the space/spelling continuum continues.

Rachel Fox said...

Sun 6pm - I'll be listening out. That's a long poem'd better get practising! I think it's too late for your spelling.