Recitation: An Eminent Form of Art | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 05, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 05, 2019

Recitation: An Eminent Form of Art

Getting up on the stage, standing before the microphone and harmonizing some words with melody don’t define recitation. When you are reciting a poem or a story, you are giving shape to some unsighted feelings. This delivery demands proficiency. Before you start uttering words, you have to have the power of assessing life, power of loving humanity, power of realizing depth of nature; you have to know the sequential history of the society where you are born. Selection of words has a particular significance in recitation. You have to select words where a latent remark is persistent. For this you need an impressionable and exquisite mind, a comprehensive power of understanding and a profound devotion to reach the deepest.

There is a relationship between our daily intuitions and our experiences. We all have that in different shapes and forms. But when we are presenting this art before a large audience, we have to keep some basic points in mind. Throwing your voice, pronouncing words in a classic, authentic and ascertained way, dominating meaningful alteration of a speech, enumerating co-ordination, caesura & punctuations intensively, maintaining liveliness of voice, controlling subsistence and fluctuation of voice are only some of these. Furthermore,if you can assess the administration of consistency in words, you can determine its actuality. Reiteration promotes sense of humour and also helps better understanding of the difference between the apparent and the inner meaning of a poem.

Why do we recite? People can never share a lineage and a universe only with his own misery, illness and expectancy. There is society, alliance, hostility and also atheism. There exists anticipation for inexplicable experiences. Every human being has an intention to make his feelings and experiences reach other’s minds. A poet first creates a plot in his own mind. Then he writes it thinking of a reader who will be reading this. When a reader just reads it, it’s simply called reading. But when an addition of a special alignment and balance to this reading creates emotion & appeal in a listener’s mind then it’s called art. This is the art of recitation. An audient receives it according to his height of experience & intuition. Sometimes he receives radiation, sometimes sympathy and compassion and often he receives friendship.

There is a relationship between a drama and a dramatist. Many people think a same kind of relationship lies between a reciter and a poet. But I don’t quite believe this as drama is a kind of art whose creative achievement mostly depends on its empirical success. This is not the same in case of poetry. There are many magnificent poems which don’t demand proficiency of recitation to retain its excellence. Greatness of these poems is never ruined even if they are not recited. Where a producer/director possesses a freedom to change the essence of a drama for its better application, a reciter doesn’t have that independence to mutate the essence of a poem. An excellent poem is like a compulsive spell, each sentence of it is unfailing. A reciter doesn’t have any right to change a poem excluding any of its word or sentence. In fact, he can’t repeat a sentence even where the poet himself hasn’t done. The reciter has to follow the exact way, the poet has created. So we have to keep in mind that drama is an objective form of art where recitation is a subjective form of art.

An artist should know about the substantial mystery of art. Reciter is an artist who should know that writing a poem is an art. But reciting the same poem is totally a different kind of art. So the whole art of recitation has to be created by the reciter’s own imagination and contemplation. The poem itself is the reciter’s best possession. But it doesn’t mean that the poet has arranged all the components and materials of recitation in the poem by himself. A poet doesn’t create a poem for recitation. He creates it to shape his own feelings. Now the reciter has to shape these unsighted feelings using his expertness and efficiency.

If a reciter and a poet are intolerant of each other, if they can’t comprehend and perceive each other’s feelings, affliction is created. A reciter should be ready to receive a poet’s egotism, sorrow and grief. Simultaneously, a poet should understand the difficulties and comforts of a reciter, radical competence of a reciter and reciter’s power of being connected to the public. If we consider poem as a coin and place reciter and poet in its opposite sides respectively, then it can never shine brightly.


Pushpita Roy is pursuing post-graduate studeis at the University of Glasgow, UK.

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