Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Silent Reading

  If you've ever taught a child to read, you recognize that point of fluency, when it's not a struggle any longer. The child will sit perfectly still, eyes flickering over the page, lips motionless. Not a twitch, not a sigh. Reading silently is what adults do. We don't whisper to ourselves, or mumble, or stop and re-read a line. But sometimes we should.
  One of my favorite poets is Gerard Manley Hopkins and he should never, never be read silently.
(Unless you're on public transportation and would scare the other passengers. Then you may read silently. But slowly.)
 So, try it out. Read it once, to yourself and then out loud. Savor the words, let them rest a bit on your tongue before heading out into the world. I promise you, the poem will live in a way it didn't when you were silent.
 God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
  It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
  It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;        5
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;        10
And though the last lights off the black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


  1. When I was eighteen, my roommates (best friends) and I lived a long bus ride away from downtown. On a whim, I started reading Alice in Wonderland to them - the old edition I have with the Tenniel artwork. I'd read using different voices and accents, then show them the art. I'd been reading for 40 minutes when my throat got tired, competing with the loud motor of the bus. I'd stopped for about a minute, when a voice from the front asked, 'which book is that? I'm going to go to the library and get it!' It was the bus driver! I'd unwittingly had everyone on the buses rapt attention as I read. Maybe MORE people need to read in public!

    I came here from a nice comment you left on my drop the needle entry on Authoress's blog. (Raptor Snatch).


  2. Hey, when I read my e-mail notice that Feacky Snucker posted a comment, I was afriad to even click on it. :D
    Ok, I have that exact edition (Random House 1946) sitting 5 inches from my keyboard. I've never had it read to me, or read it aloud, but now I feel the need...
    Are you doing the Monday SA? I've never entered, but I raelly love reading all the in-house crits. I didn't see the rude comment above mine until I'd posted. Hm. I would say... NOT destined to be rejected. You are absolutely on the way to publication. You can't fake that kind of voice.

    I have a YA finaling in the Emily right now and the YA is a hard genre to nail. Excellent job!

  3. Hey:) No, my YA is a WIP, and Raptor Snatch is more commercial fiction than anything else, and it's the only one query ready. I wish I could have done it though! You bet if there's one in the near future in my genre, then I'll be all over that like a dirty shirt. Yeah, I seem to get a lot of 'you suck' comments from people. Don't they realize that I'M my worst critic?! Thanks for saying it's not terrible, it really does mean a lot. As for the 'I thought it was romance but you said it's commercial I'm confused' lady, I felt like saying - um, have you ever read an entire book? No book is bodice ripper/ action/ murder spree/ comedy the whole way through. This is DROP THE NEEDLE! Haha. But that would have been bitchy. Did you have one in there? If so, what number was it?!