Last New Year I started reading John Keats’ Endymion. Within a few days I had completed the first two books. This afternoon, after leaving the poem rather longer than I ought, I finished the last two.
This post is not going to be an in-depth analysis of the poem. I’m afraid to say that it now exists in my mind only as a jumbled up collection of images. That’s because rather than read it in the normal, silent, manner, I did something I never do and read the poem out aloud to myself.
As a result of this, I concentrated on pronouncing the words correctly and making sure I understood what they meant individually and as a sentence rather than being concerned with what the story was about as a whole.
Reading a book aloud feels like jumping into a river to experience it rather than doing so from the bank. To speak the words is to savour them, in a way, from the inside.
It was a terrific experience. Endymion flowed beautifully; there was great drama in it, too; reading the poem out loud definitely brought out the actor in me. If you have the time, it is definitely an activity I would recommend. What you lose (if you do) in overall understanding, you definitely gain in sheer joy, for by speaking the words, you meet them much more intimately than you would if you were reading silently.