I like the poem I put up, because I designed it to be read aloud. (It made its debut at the Medusa Bar-- a cool underground bar in Philly-- last Saturday, the first reading I've done in some time.) There are moments in it (in quotes for instance) which allow me to let out my voice.
The funny thing about a poem is that not until you read it in public do you become fully aware of each place which demands emphasis. Certain arrangements of words can naturally build to a high point. In this case, "rhythmn," and also "this" in the last line, had me increase my volume.
This poem, unlike a few I've written, allows proper room to be dramatic; i.e., to vary the volume of my voice, and so hold the interest of the audience. (Also moments to physically move-- such as the "knife" phrase, which can be acted out for added emphasis!)
Most poetry today is written to be read in a monotone. At least, that's how most poetry today is performed! Arguments can be made about poetry written for the ear or the eye. Most academic poetry is written for neither.
The poems of Louise Gluck
Take David Berman. First, his poetry is merely cute. I've been unable to find much in it-- momentum, strength, or rhythmn-- which would lend itself to an exciting reading. Second, one has to merely listen to his wimpy ultra-laid back band, each song performed in a colorless monotone, to understand that the guy must be awful reading poetry. This is why I was eager to have him read against an underground poet, after Berman had foolishly challenged us. (Local Philly undergrounder Michael Grover had volunteered for the Read-Off; a poet with a strong voice and a good sense of the dramatic. Unfortunately, Berman backed off.)
For me, the pleasure of listening to poetry or prose performed is hearing a high caliber voice which uses words as tools to play with the audience. Few know how to do this. Most writers who try to read probably shouldn't, as 1.) their work is dry and lifeless; 2.) they don't have a clue what to do with their words regardless.
These are lost questions. But think back to the revolutionary poets Marlowe and Shakespeare, who designed plays around poetry, and so brought the world amazing language and drama: amazing art.