I don’t have as many opportunities as I once did to read my work out loud, but, recently, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to read with fellow contributors to The Widows’ Handbook. On April 13, 2014, I read at Expressions Gallery in Berkeley with a fabulous group of women whose work is included in the book (photos here) and on May 11, with a few of these women, I also read at Sinai Memorial Chapel in San Francisco.
These experiences were a reminder of the importance of poetry’s oral tradition and of sharing work out loud with others. Poetry began orally and, periodically, we should return to it. No matter how large or small the audience, the shared experience of reading poetry out loud is critical to our understanding of the genre. The sound of the words. The sense of community. The importance of the sum of the works being more than the individual pieces. Let us enjoy the gift of poetry in many forms, not just on the printed page or computer screen.