Two evocative readings by the poet, K Lang, are posted below along with my thoughts.
K Lang reads their poem “Ghost’s Mouth."
I love the lines, “A ghost’s mouth / is shaped like / an old september” (Lang 1-3). They bring to my mind the transience of time and the way that loss can stay with people and echo through the years. Lang's reading emphasizes the musicality of the poem. For example, Lang's voice highlights the assonance in the words, “ghost” and “old” in those first three lines. In addition, the alliteration in the words “fires and foothills” is beautifully emphasized in the reading of the line “(There were no fires in the foothills that summer)” (Lang 6). In my opinion, Lang's voice lends a contemplative air to the poem as the speaker thinks about life and time and their effects on “all / of / us” (Lang 19-21). I especially enjoy the extra stress Lang places on the word “throat” in the lines, “stone if you love / it by the throat” (Lang 14-15). This added emphasis seems to reinforce the dangers of holding onto the past too tightly. Finally, as Lang reads the last three lines, “all / of / us” their voice raises higher, as if asking a question. It is as if the speaker is uncertain about the future and is wondering where and who they will be later in life.
K Lang reads their poem “From: Orange Blossom."
Lang’s reading brings attention to the musicality inherent to the rhymes and rhythms within the poem. For example, the rhyme, “shadows” and “gallows” and the sounds in, “bellies” and “fruit trees” are emphasized (Lang 2-6). In addition, the stress she placed on the word “tuck” in the line “but we tuck in our hungry bellies,” adds a punch to the poem that I didn’t perceive when reading it to myself. The pause after “the cold” that Lang takes when reading the line, “the cold can always deepen” changes the tone of the poem entirely for me (Lang 7). It sounds as if they are not only conveying a necessary truth to readers, but a warning. It is as if Lang is encouraging readers to gain an awareness of how often things can go wrong in life. I am especially intrigued by the way Lang reads the final stanza. Lang's voice sounds raw, uncertain and even slightly strained when reading the lines, “I don’t know, / it’s always been like / this” in a way that it hasn’t been previously (Lang 4-6). The reading of these final lines conveys a sense of weariness to me. It is as if the speaker is tired of wondering why life is a certain way.
You can find K Lang’s poems in the IV Edition of Sink Hollow.