October 1, 2017

Better than Pumpkin Spice: October's Read Aloud

Resources , The Buckley Experience , Poems to Read Aloud , Just For Fun

The Buckley School's founder believed that all speakers should hone their presentation skills by reading poetry out loud. We keep that worthwhile practice alive by including a poem in our magazine each month for you to read aloud. 


"Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity."

– Dorothea Tanning

For our October poem to read out loud, we were thinking Christina Rosetti or Edgar Allen Poe. But thanks to the themed collection from the Poetry Foundation, we instead discovered a poet new to us: Dorothea Tanning.

Tanning has a fascinating story: She was born in 1910 and worked most of her life as a visual artist. Her work was exhibited in major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and the Tate Modern.

Dorethea Tanning and Max Ernst, photographed by Robert Bruce Inverarity in 1948

She was married for 30 years to artist Max Ernst, and the two lived in France until his death in 1976.

She started writing poetry in her late 80s. At age 94, she published her first novel. She lived to be 101 years old, and published her last book of poetry just months before she died. Here's more information about her along with images of her paintings and a stunning collection of photos of her. 

"Dorothea Tanning, who has had a long and marvelous life as a visual artist, is our most surprising new poet."

– Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post Book World

You'll find the rest of the Halloween poems here, including Rosetti's Goblin Market. And here's Poe's The Raven--though longish, always a fun one for reading out loud. 

All Hallows’ Eve


Be perfect, make it otherwise.
Yesterday is torn in shreds.
Lightning’s thousand sulfur eyes
Rip apart the breathing beds.
Hear bones crack and pulverize.
Doom creeps in on rubber treads.
Countless overwrought housewives,
Minds unraveling like threads,
Try lipstick shades to tranquilize
Fears of age and general dreads.
Sit tight, be perfect, swat the spies,
Don’t take faucets for fountainheads.
Drink tasty antidotes.
Otherwise You and the werewolf: newlyweds.

Source: Coming to That (Graywolf Press, 2011)

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