From out of the meagerness of our suppressed minds, and perhaps a need to call for a new decade of poetry, from time to time, we seem to come up with new words for old ways—the best way to describe it is with the new slogan: Loud Poetry. I don’t know what Homer would have called it way back when, perhaps simply oral memorization with emphases here and there—a story to be told with dramatization and description and a little explanation on the side but get those adjectives right: excluding these old rusty terms, we got now the new official word (simplified), and it is called: Loud and Silent poetry (declamation). There is no mystery behind this just a new intercourse between two hemispheres:
While in Villa Rica, Peru, a small township, in the middle of nowhere, I was invited to be a special guest, some four or five years ago. I did a loud reading to a crowd of perhaps seventy or more people; provided of course a little dramatization with it. Not as good as Dylan Thomas, but good enough to get a little applause, this was good enough for me. Now let’s not shift too quickly, there were a dozen young teenagers doing short skits, dramatization with poetry, loud and invigorating poetry. It engulfed my mind, soul and body, filled my spirit up (more so than with silent poetry, although silent poetry has its own dividends), they were so very good. One girl said she practiced several weeks before I came, to dedicate the poetry drama to me. I was appreciative of it of course.
When I visited Israel in July of 2010, I also visited with Amir Or (a well known poet), he does a lot of workshops and reading of poetry to groups, as does Robert Bly whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting also, and heard—and they find their rewards in this, they live poetry in essence. I did a live reading to a group of people at my last presentation of my book, the poem was “The Potato Patch,” as I have done on many occasions but surely not as often as Robert Bly, or Donald Hall, or Amir Or, has, nor do I wish to.
The point being, when you step into the world of “Poetry Out Loud,” it takes time, memorization usually, unless you read it from a book, then you lose of course certain elements, and for some folks it is frightening, too much so to do it.
I prefer a lot of silent reading and a little of out loud reading of poetry to groups and so forth (I read and write perhaps ten-hours a day, believe this or not, you can ask my wife, even on our trips I do a lot of reading and writing, and I like all genres). I don’t care for the recitation part of it anymore, but that is usually part of the program, as is a little dramatization.
So the question comes up, or perhaps the word “Comparative,” or “Relevant,” but I think I’ve already given my testimony, I prefer “Proportionate” or balance, and I just mentioned my form of balance that suits me. Let me put it in a different way: a person once asked me, “What are your values?” My response was, “Does it really matter to you, I mean, what I value, is not necessary what you value.” What I was trying to tell him, is: you live by your values, what you value the most is what you preserve—you don’t live by someone else’s values. I like balance, and I don’t need to be on stage every day. But, to be considered a poet among poets, I would think you would have to have both sides of the coin sharp and clear, nearly all the time.
Dennis L. Siluk, Ed.D.