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Using the right voice when reading poems


'Toot the snooter flute'
WD Snodgrass Poet
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First of all, you just simply do take in a deep breath and, and hold it out. You don't try to make it uncomfortable or something because that'll mean… tightening up, straining other muscles. But you're straining… you're developing these muscles here as the driving force. In here there's a kind of valve, and you… you do a lot of huh, hee, huh, ho, things like that. Then you're bringing the voice forward, so you do things like… let's play tennis. Let's play… breeze will ease the trees. Send the weather west. Fawns upon the lawns. Moats will float the boats. Now this I learned from my singing teacher here. This is his tribute to a New Guinea tribesman. Toot the snooter flute.

American poet WD Snodgrass, entered the world of poetry with a bang winning several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, for his first collection of poetry, Heart's Needle. A backlash followed his controversial fifth anthology “The Fuehrer Bunker”, but in recent years these poems have been reassessed and their importance recognised.

Listeners: William B. Patrick

William B. Patrick is a writer and poet who lives in Troy, New York. Among his work are the poetry volumes "We Didn't Come Here for This" and "These Upraised Hands", the novel "Roxa: Voices of the Culver Family" and the plays "Rescue" and "Rachel's Dinner". His most recent work is the non-fiction book "Saving Troy", based on the year he spent following the Troy Fire Department.

Mr. Patrick has been Writer-in-Residence at the New York State Writers Institute and has taught at Old Dominion University, Onondaga Community College, and Salem State College, and workshops in Screenwriting and Playwriting at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference in Roanoke, Virginia. He has received grants from the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

Tags: exercise, vocal techniques, breathing, poetry

Duration: 56 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008