Piano, by Peter Goldsworthy

I enjoyed the article posted on this website on 28 March 2019 by Canberra music teacher and examiner Greta Grybaitis. It discussed ‘the consistency and discipline of practice and the practice methods’ and contained content relevant also to students of Speech.

As I studied Greta’s recommendations, I was reminded of the poem Piano by Peter Goldsworthy, which commences ‘Each night I return to this discipline …’ (I have placed a link to the poem at the end of this article.)

The poem provides many opportunities for a skilled poetry speaker, and here are three examples of techniques which could be used:

  • (First stanza) ‘a straight-back on a hard bench’
    The four key words (straight, back, hard, bench) each being one syllable in length, could be delivered in a crisp, sharp manner in keeping with the posture and furniture described.
  • (Fourth stanza) ‘Yet it contains no music’
    To reflect the change in the poem’s direction at this point, I would suggest adjusting pitch, pace, inflection, tone and facial expression.
  • (Fourth stanza) ‘black and white, loud and soft, sharp and flat’
    Varied inflection styles for these three groups of contrasting words would help to avoid a repetitive speech tune.

Peter Goldsworthy AM was born in South Australia in 1951. According to his website (www.petergoldsworthy.com):

‘After graduating in medicine from the University of Adelaide in 1974, he worked for many years in alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Since then, he has divided his time equally between writing and general practice. He has won major literary awards across a range of genres: poetry, short story, the novel, in opera, and most recently in theatre.’

I hope you will also appreciate Piano, which can be found at this link – a little slow but it gets there – to the Australian Poetry Library:




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