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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Record Your Rime: A BAM Poetry Project

Admit it. You've always dreamed of being a swarthy sailor who sports a crossbow, gambles with death, and gets mistaken for the devil.

In celebration of Tony Award nominee Fiona Shaw's upcoming performances of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic account of bird-related misadventures on the high seas, we're partnering with the Poetry Foundation's Record-a-Poem project to collect your interpretations of (an excerpt from) Coleridge’s classic rhyme.

Don’t worry, sailor: this can all be done from the comfort of your own scurvy-free home. All we need is your lovely voice and your saltiest take on one of the great poems of the English language. You can listen to some of the submissions here.

In a few weeks, we’ll edit together a single crowd-sourced animated video featuring as many of your voices as possible and post to the blog. And if you participate through Soundcloud, your entire reading will be preserved as part of Record-a-Poem for poetry posterity.

UPDATE: Deadline for submissions for the animation was December 1, but we encourage you to continue submitting your Rimes.

Two Ways to Participate: 

By Email
  1. Record yourself reading the excerpt below. Don't be afraid to get creative! (Smartphone apps like Voice Memo are easiest. Just try to keep your phone 8-10 inches from your face).  
  2. Save file as "LastName FirstName Rime" (Example: Doe John Rime.m4a)
  3. Email your clip to Be sure to include where you're from and your age (optional) if you'd like to be credited later on.
By Soundcloud
  1. Record yourself reading the excerpt below. Don't be afraid to get creative! (Smartphone apps like Voice Memo are easiest. Or download the Soundcloud app and record it directly to the site. Just try to keep your mic 8-10 inches from your face).  
  2. Join (or log into)
  3. Join the Record-a-Poem Group on Soundcloud.
  4. Upload your file.
  6. Tag your poem with "poem", "poetry", and "Coleridge".
  7. Click "More Options," click "Downloads" to enable downloading, and save.
  8. Click "Go to your sound" and add the file to the Record-a-Poem Group.
  9. Fill out this form to register your entry (THIS IS IMPORTANT!)
To set you up: you’re a sailor, whose ship has been blown off course. You might have been saved, but you’re bad with birds and shot the magic albatross that was making the winds blow. To the chagrin of your crew, you're stuck again. (Read the entire poem here).

From Part II of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

. . . 

By Gustave Doré
All in a hot and copper sky, 
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green, and blue, and white.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was wither'd at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

Read the entire poem here.


  1. Do you still need clips?

    1. Yes please! It's too late for it to be included in our animation, but please do submit your reading, and we'll include it in the SoundCloud playlist: