[I found this on Stephen Frug's blog, but I wanted to post it myself and make a brief comment.]
Here is one of my indispensable poets reading one of his indispensable poems -- on youtube no less. The video is at best pointless and at worst distracting and painfully literal, so look away from the screen, or close your eyes, and just listen. It is an interesting experience, but not as good as reading the poem yourself, I think.
There is an assumption that there is something valuable in hearing poets read their own work. I disagree, at least as far as most of the poets I have heard read. I think, generally, poets are terrible readers of their own poems. (Ashbery is an exception here -- T.S. Eliot is not). This is not as surprising as it sounds, as we would not, for example, expect a screenwriter who was not also an actor to do a very good job reading parts of his own script. I recommend we treat poetry the same way. Let's find actors to read these things aloud -- college actors for instance -- and let the poets get back to doing what they do best: writing poetry.
[How embarrassing is it that I now embed youtube clips because I am excited to have "cracked the technology" of embedding? I am such a Luddite.]