I came across a puzzling post the other day and instead of haranguing the poor people innocently posting their latest random thoughts, thought I would burden my non-existent audience here instead: I read this & wondered if academics tend toward ruining everything for everyone eventually:
Trained Writer #1: "I love poetry, but don't like hearing people read it."
TW #2:"Most poets should NOT read their poetry out loud. There are, however, some brilliant exceptions."
TW #3: "Be careful. I've sat through some bad poetry read badly, but people do have to have some kind of outlet for their efforts, no matter how humble. Consider that we have to listen to ads, see ads, hear pontificating politicians, talk radio, school and university administrators pretending to care about learning . . . , so a little bad poetry from an ordinary person is only a very minor difficulty."
TW #1, explaining their initial shared observation: "I get it. I don't mind hearing Maya Angelou, but for the most part, I like to read it and take the time to let it soak in. When someone is reading it, I can't seem to get the whole picture, and I definitely don't hear every word."
TW #2, defending their first comment: "I very much affirm what you're saying here. I'm pretty much referring to the pros here. I've heard so many singsong renditions of otherwise fine poetry, and it makes me cringe. Listening to some poets read their work, including a few around here, is a delight. But I do think that reading poetry is a different art than writing poetry, and some professional poets do not excel at both."
It puzzles me as to why the first "poets" with a small "p" was supposed to indicate Professional Poets with a capital "P" as if there were no other kind?
When we speak of artists we mean all artists - whether one is able to earn a living doing so is immaterial, we only mean someone producing art.
What are the un-poets supposed to do - are they even allowed to read their work aloud? What about Poets Who Are Published Yet Do Not Earn A Living From Their Poetry Yet (PAPY NAPY's)? A poet - small "p" - is someone producing poetry, that is all. Art and poetry are created to be shared - mostly and eventually, at least,- who cares how? It's nice to do it in a way that earns a living but that's not always why it is created.
And to return to the initial discovery: poetry is just read; sometimes aloud (less than half the time by the writer), and sometimes there's much pleasure and perhaps more understanding in relishing each dropped word on a page, in one's head, alone and quiet with the writer, just she and you and her words.