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February 27, 2011


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Great post. I love group readings and I love hearing poets (or anyone, actually) read others' poems aloud. I used to get together with a small group of friends just so we could read poetry aloud to each other -- not our own, but the poems we had found that we loved. Years later, I had something of an epiphany when I heard David Lehman read "Tintern Abbey" aloud. I got it. More recently I heard Andrey Gritsman read Mayakovsky's Brooklyn Bridge -- in Russian. It didn't matter that I didn't, and don't, know Russian, the music came through and it was mesmerizing. Your Whale Sound group reading series takes this idea further and it's brilliant and generous. Thank you.

I love the group readings on Whale Sound. I felt very honored to have my poem read by you and Dick Jones...I found the similarities in our readings as intriguing as the differences. I thought it was interesting that our pacing was nearly identical, but that the different qualities of voice do completely impact a reading.

The group readings have helped me in several ways. Sometimes a new meaning to a line is revealed by the way someone reads the poem. Sometimes a new cadence or musical phrasing is revealed. When I've listened to you, Nic, read my poems I always discover something in my words and lines that I hadn't considered before. As many have already said, the poem takes on its own life each time someone else reads it. Of all the projects you've launched, the group readings have been my favorite.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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