26th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival

Never having succeeded at school, I’ve always thought of poetry as the holidays, not term time.

Hugo Williams

In November I am going to have the privilege of participating at the 26th Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. It will be my second time at the Festival, and my fourth visit overall. I have just received the programme, so it must be true.

I am also a judge for this year’s Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.

The prospect of the holiday reading that lies in front of me – relaxed and studious, intuitive yet intense – is a delicious one.

As a result I won’t be here as much as usual over the next few weeks.

I’ll be posting more news about this on Saturday. In the meantime, I wish all of my readers a very happy summer of reading.

 

The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently

 

is not silent, it is a speaking-

out-loud voice in your head: it is spoken,

a voice is saying it

as you read. It’s the writer’s words,

of course, in a literary sense

his or her voice, but the sound

of that voice is the sound of your voice.

Not the sound your friends know

or the sound of a tape played back

but your voice

caught in the dark cathedral

of your skull, your voice heard

by an internal ear informed by internal abstracts

and what you know by feeling,

having felt. It is your voice

saying, for example, the word barn

that the writer wrote

but the barn you say

is a barn you know or knew. The voice

in your head, speaking as you read,

never says anything neutrally – some people

hated the barn they knew,

some people love the barn they know

so you hear the word loaded

and a sensory constellation

is lit: horse-gnawed stalls,

hayloft, black heat tape wrapping

a water pipe, a slippery

spilled chirr of oats from a split sack,

the bony, filthy haunches of cows…

And barn is only a noun -no verb

or subject has entered the sentence yet!

The voice you hear when you read to yourself

is the clearest voice: you speak it

speaking to you.

 

Thomas Lux from New and Selected Poems: 1975-1995 (Mariner Books)