James Richardson

James Richardson Q&A on reading his work aloud (text)

James Richardson on reading his work aloud when he writes:
The sound, and more specifically the voice or speakability, of a poem is incredibly important to me. My interest in rhythm, pacing, tone, syntax, sound patterning is borderline crazed (e.g., I teach prosody and have scanned a bazillion poems, toted up 3rd vs. 4th -beat promotions and initial inversions, noted the proportions of mono- and poly-syllables, etc.) But I don’t read my work out loud when I write. I hope I don’t have to, i.e that my inner voice is actually better at giving poems a true reading than my physical voice. And though speaking poems with that inner voice feels utterly natural, and giving a public reading or reading them in a class only slightly less so, saying poems out loud when I’m alone in a room feels puzzling. Who am I talking to? Which voice do I use, the inner one or the public one?