Sunday, November 3, 2013

Samson Agonistes Aloud

In class and on this blog we have discussed the illumination that comes in understanding Paradise Lost when we listen to it. The beauty of the poem comes into full view when we hear the rhythm of the words. Poetry was meant to be listened to as much as it was meant to be read. So I decided to listen to Samson Agonistes (you can listen to it here). While reading Samson Agonistes was interesting to me, listening to it amplified the pain Samson was going through and his father's agony at his death. 

I decided to look up what people had to say about listening to books and poetry versus reading it, and I came across this article from Forbes. Here's what caught my eye in the article:

"And yet in some cases, listening offers major advantages over reading, even with material as tough to parse as Shakespeare. That’s because an audio book pre-determines an aspect of language called prosody, or the musicality of words. Prosody is how we known that someone is being self-reflective when they ask aloud if they left the gas on (or when Hamlet asks whether “to be or not to be”).
'Someone who knows the meaning can convey a lot through prosody,' Willingham said. 'If you’re listening to a poem, the prosody might help you.'"
I'll admit, I struggle to read poetry. But listening to it is one of my favorite things to do. There's something about poetry read aloud that is just right. So next time you feel like you aren't really enjoying a long piece of poetry, try out the audio version if there is one, and if there isn't then there's always the perfect solution: read it aloud!

1 comment:

  1. So glad you found this version! I've downloaded it and will give it a listen.