The Poetry Project

Master Class

Conference of the Words — Master Class with Fanny Howe

One three hour meeting when we stop everything to hear the way we read aloud. Like birds each of us has a tone of voice, a recognizable timbre and rhythm that goes everywhere with us. But if we stop to read aloud what we have already written, we lose the spontaneous and natural voice of a speaker. This accounts for the ever-shifting styles in spoken words. For years I have wondered at the way cultures produce such different soundings, even within a fairly short span of time. And why some people read their poems in a relaxed conversational tone while others speak formally like ghosts of time past. What does it take to hold a reader's attention. So in an experiemental spirit I thought you might listen to poems aloud alone, and play the ones that "work" for you to the group. and then read two of your own poems aloud, and we will talk about how your reading works in relation to what the content asks of it. This is not a critical theory time but a group experiment in the deepest soundings of our thoughts and their transmission. PENN sound and Harvard's Woodberry Room are both good sources for listening.