Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Take care of the sense

By Amy Baranski

Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves, says the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland, and John Hollander as his final point in the introduction to Committed to Memory.

My copy arrived today.

Hollander is a poet, a critic, an editor, and wears a beard in his dust jacket picture.

I can't tell you precisely why I felt annoyed when I first opened the book, it had a stiff air, but Hollander's introduction won me over. His blatant disdain for oratory foibles of today's newscasters was the clincher.

I have always loved reading aloud. Since I was a little girl. I don't know why. It's just how I prefer to read, from line to line, page to page, cover to cover. The silence of the page is nice too. I read silently now too, as I've grown into my ornery adult suit, and am prone to headaches more easily. Says Hollander:
"...to hear a poem read aloud by someone who understands it, and who wishes to share that understanding with someone else, can be a crucial experience, instructing the silently reading eye ever thereafter to hear what it is seeing. Better yet is reading aloud that way oneself."
Such joy!


Melissa said...

Thanks, Amy. I skipped right over the Introduction. I guess I tend to do that. I was eager to find "my poem" so thanks for inspiring me to read it.

Amy Baranski said...

There's a lot of great points in the intro, including a breezy history of the role of memorization from ancient greece to now...found it very interesting. He gets into more technical aspects of the practice...