The Larkin Reading

Enjoy the audio from Tuesday night's reading here (my reading of "The Whitsun Weddings" is here) as well as an entirely appropriate introduction:

As with so much else—England, foreign countries, children, grownup people, a great deal of literature, and a great deal of life—Philip Larkin didn’t care for poetry readings.

Listening to poetry read aloud, complained Larkin, one never knows how far away the ending is; all sense of stanzaic form disappears; and this is to say nothing of all the tiny misunderstandings that chip away at our ability to concentrate, the “theirs” being taken for “there’s.” I don’t much like poetry readings either, and I would add to Larkin’s list of grievances the fact that most people aren’t very good at reading poetry aloud. The greatest offense is usually simply that of reading the poem as though it were a poem, in a boomingly uniform incantation that obscures nuance and texture. Fortunately, there were few such performances on display on Tuesday night at the Cooper Union’s Great Hall…