When asked to offer a description of me, more than a few people have chosen "quiet" as one of my defining features. More or less I'd agree.
More than being quiet, however, I have not always loved my voice itself. After working as a French and English language tutor, focusing intensely with a multitude of students on pronunciation in both French and English, I have become hyper-aware of my own dialect and, at times, a little self-conscious of it. I would describe the way I speak as warm and a little folksy, which is funny when combined with my diction choices. In short, I never really saw myself as a person whose literal voice was that important or relevant. I have always chosen to let my words on paper do the talking for me.
However, a couple months ago I met one of my neighbors, G Calvin Weston, a drummer and completely lovely person, by chance, and he asked if I would like to lend some poetry and therefore my voice to a collaboration for his free improv Facebook page. How could I say no?
He sent me a recording and I went from there. My partner, who is a musician, helped out and provided me with invaluable guidance as far as reading poetry with music goes. A lot of it was very anxiety-inducing (should have seen that coming, though, knowing myself), but everything worked out so much better than I could have imagined. I kind of love the outcome. Here it is:
Drums: G Calvin Weston
Bass: Pete Dennis
Poetry: Abigail Swoboda
Here, I read several parts from my recent 13-part poetry series "Abnormative Hermeneutics," which I wrote over the course of a manic three days.
I have always held that my poetry is meant to be read the way I read it. And I still think that. I think I owe it to myself to continue working to embrace my own voice so that I can share not only my words but my sounds attached to those words with others. I think this was a sort of abrasive start, but a good one nonetheless.