Friday, 4 May 2018

Poet Voice Latest

I've written before about the distressing phenomenon of 'poet voice'. Now I learn that there is an algorithm for it. I  do hope this can be weaponised, perhaps enabling a device that would administer a salutary non-lethal electric shock to the offending poetry reader.
  Meanwhile, on Radio 4, things go from bad to worse. While prime offender Paul Farley continues the great work of putting listeners off contemporary verse with The Echo Chamber, a form of 'poet voice' has spread from the poetry programmes into the 'factual' arena. Grace Dent – a woman who in other circumstances speaks perfectly normally – adopts an intimate crooning tone when voicing the links on a perfectly ordinary documentary series called, for some reason, The Untold. Every word is spoken as if it is some kind of secret that can only be whispered into the ear of you, the listener. The impeccably banal sentences are loaded with faux portent and punctuated by random pauses, as if Ms Dent has just heard someone coming and isn't sure if she dare continue. It is so irritating that I now have to turn off at the sound of her voice – or switch over to Radio 3 where things are so much more agreeable.


  1. I was curious to find out how this Paul Farley guy reads and the first thing I found on Youtube was a video of him reading a poem called "Treacle." How appropriate.

  2. Perfect! Or rather 'pear-fect'...

  3. Thank you for this. As i write Grace Dent is commentating in the Untold programme in her reverential sanctimonious over measured tones. Have had to turn down the radio. And as for the "Echo Chamber" man, the radio goes off as soon as he comes on.