visual or oral, how do you prefer yours?

Is poetry best read in solitude or listened to in public?  How do you prefer yours? Visual? Audio? The Guardian piece Deconstructing poetry on the radio asks if discussing poetry can make a good radio programmes.  This raises interesting questions about interpretation and resonance. Is the potential effect of a poem diluted by not having the visual structure and word pattern on the page? Do assonance and alliteration benefit most from sound or vision? Or does it all depend on the poem or poet?

Radio 4’s Poetry Workshop returned on Sunday 4th November. In it, Ruth Padel travels around the country visiting local poetry groups and inviting people to read aloud their poems for discussion.  It’s a bit like a book club but you bring your own work. The application to DIY to poetry education. ‘Fathers’ was the theme for poems in the first programme while the technical issue was ‘line breaks’. Prose rarely have to worry about line breaks but when it comes to rhyme and rhythm the line break takes on an importance of its own. Removing or adding line breaks can change not only the look but also the feel of a poem whether it’s on the page or being recited.  Poetry Workshop offers free access to auditory power of poetry and is well worth the experience.  Broadcast at 4.30pm on Sundays, it’s repeated at 11.30pm the following Saturday or available on iplayer

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