Why do people read poetry in this odd intonation? Especially poets reading their own poems. I am listening to Maxine Kumin on NPR, and she is doing it to death.
How to describe this intonation? Mostly it is near the end of a line where in normal speech the tone would go down, but in poetry reading it has to stay level until the end of the poem. It’s not the annoying up-lift that sort of turns a statement into a question (are you listening, Terry Gross?). But it’s just as annoying.
I find poetry that is read out loud much more compelling if the reader uses normal intonation.
So how is this intonation so apparently universal among poets especially reading their own work?