Colourful Expression

poetry in letterpress type

The next task to assist me with my singing is to explore poetry and how to create vocal colour with text to ensure that I don’t sing the words on the paper without feeling.  To begin with I have been recommended to listen to poets who colour their words through speech and I thought what better way to do this than research poets on-line   I need to find Poets that speak emotively and bring their words to life.  If you have any recommendations please put them in the comments. I would be thrilled to hear your suggestions 🙂

I was advised to watch a lady called Sarah Kay on YouTube. (She is the co-creator of Project V.O.I.C.E, where they encourage people to use spoken voice as a tool to express the world they live in).  Her website is: and she has some great clips on YouTube.  I like Sarah as she holds some similar views to me.  She creates a vivid and exciting world and mentions her views on handling life:

“and she’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face. Wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach, but getting the wind knocked out of you, is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.”

She reveals, in one of her poetic talks, that her parents called her Sarah because it’s a gospel name and Sarah was created by god and told she can do impossible things. I quite like to think we are all capable of the impossible, I mean it could be as small or grand as the person dreams; Like passing an exam you were told you’d fail or catching a fly with a pair of chopsticks.

My teacher says poetry is great for the soul and the imagination and I am specifically interested in seeing how people bring their poetry to life, so that when I interpret lyrics I can create an air of honesty whilst bringing my own personal touch and reflection to the words.

29 thoughts on “Colourful Expression

    1. Thanks Lawrence for the quick response to my request for help, I will watch the clip and let you know. Great actors, like great singers know how to hold an audience through their use of emotion and colour and it is a skill I hope to master 🙂

      Best wishes

      1. Glad to help, though I think you will see that the clip has nothing to do with acting. When I first read your post, and saw the art at the top, I thought there may be some of my art that may interest you. I’ve done some things with letters, very different things, but I can see you’re interested in the spoken words.

        Have a great weekend!

      2. Thanks Lawrence, I must check out some of your work as I love beautiful images I just can’t afford the ones I love the most :). But at least with the Internet you get a brief glimpse of so many wonderful pieces.

        You have a good weekend too.

      3. Hi Lawrence

        I would love it if you could send me a link to some of the work that you were thinking about and I will definitely make time to take a look. By the way I love to dance and to express myself through movement and I was taken by this piece of yours, “Forever Dancing” . I loved the colour and movement in the painting.

        Best Wishes

  1. Charlotte,

    First, thanks for your interest in my site, The Milwaukee Muse.

    As for discovering good poetry, I’d suggest going to books first, the many anthologies of modern poetry as a first step. A quick list of especially “emotive” poets: any of the English Romantics– Keats, Blake, Wordsworth, etc. Two American women come to mind– Emily Dickinson and Mary Oliver. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnets, too.

    Regards, John Kaufman

  2. The power of poetry, the power of music and art is truely when it comes from the soul. I wish you luck in finding the passion to bring each word to life. When I work with young writers the challenge is to for them to find their voice their passion….make each word your own and the audience I am sure will melt

    1. That is what I want to achieve, if I can make the people who watch my performances feel the emotion of the lyrics as well as here the music then I know I am improving 🙂

  3. HI,thanks for following my blog,if i can help in anyway in regard to poetry please get in touch.
    I have done both drama on stage and have started doing my own poems at open mic nights too.
    Enjoying your site.

    1. Thanks for visiting and for your offer of help. I want to try and portray the lyrics that I sing accurately and with passion. I hope that my representations are seen as honest and emotive and would gladly take any guidance that you could provide from your experiences performing your works to live audience. How do they react to your work and is it how you hoped they would respond?


      1. In my own experience it depends on how you deliver the lines to them,do you want a certain line to be taken a certain way.
        With drama it is mostly written to be taken only one way but with poetry i like to have mystery thrown in where poeple can draw their own take on what something means.
        In a few of my works people have thought different things on what certain lines ment.

        When performing poetry i think it is really down to how you perform it,what passion (or not) you give certain words or phrases,what emotion you give the words.
        If you give the emotion that you want then the audience should pick up on what you want them to see/hear…..

  4. Here’s one by Theodore Roethke. I generally find it really difficult to listen to poets reading their own work, they so often seem plodding, turgid, even monotone. But you can learn at least how the cadence of the lines works in the minds of those who created them. This one sounded REALLY different (i.e. much more interesting) in my head than it does in the poet’s voice:

    1. Thanks for the suggested link, I will listen to it and think about what you have said. Though I do read poetry it was suggested to me to listen to the way in which a poem was put across to an audience by a poet/performer. I have watched and listened to several suggested pieces and it has been a useful exercise so far.

      Best wishes

    2. I had copied this link and was going to post it as well. I consider “The Waking” one of the most brilliant poems of all time. It is, I believe, inexhaustibly profound. Roethke’s reading of it is very powerful. He was demon haunted, powerful and vulnerable, and all of that comes through in this reading.

  5. Hi Charlotte, thanks for following my blog. All the best for your journey into poetry. You might want to check out some of W.H. Auden or Dylan Thomas reading their own work – both very lyrical poets and expressive readers.

  6. Thanks for visiting and liking my blog and, by so doing introducing me to yours. I particularly liked this Colourful Expression post and its link to Sarah Kay. I teach poetry as a volunteer at a nearby prison for women, and found her to be a wonderful resource.

    1. Hi Mary, I am really enjoying researching poetry through the blogs that I have found. It seems so much more real. Sharing someone else’s thoughts and feelings is very uplifting.

      Thanks for visiting

  7. Matthew Pullar recommended Dylan Thomas. Here is a link to him reading his great villanelle “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”:

    I think that villanelles especially lend themselves to reading aloud. The form is very musical because of its tight rhyme scheme and repetition of lines. Also, the repetition of the lines lends an incantatory sense to any villanelle. When the poet links that incantatory quality of the form to the right content, a villanelle can become transcendent.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me your comment and for helping me with this project. I will make time before I leave to go to Italy to watch this a couple of times.

      Best wishes

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