“Modern poems are like Victorian children: They should be seen and not heard. The essence lies on the page, not in the air, if only because so much of the authors’ effort goes into effects that can only be printed: line length, enjambment, stanza form—all these disappear when voice becomes the medium,” Jim Lewis asserts, in Slate.

Lewis likes parts of The Spoken Word—Poets, a new CD from the British Library that is devoted to readings by now-dead poets. He says the recordings show the origin of the poetry-reading voice–you know, the one we associate with afternoon poetry slams at bars we otherwise like to frequent.

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