Who has the worst poetry voice?
Answer: Brenda Hillman. While the breathy, generic poetry voice of poets like Joy Harjo and Sharon Olds really sucks, you haven't heard a truly annoying reader until you've heard Brenda Hillman. It's bad enough that she's a second-rate, bourgeois "experimental" poet sucking on the desiccated teat of Language Poetry. Yes, that is bad enough. But Hillman reads poetry as if auditioning for a Chipmunk’s revival band. Does this woman suck down a helium balloon before reading, or is her voice really that nasal? Is this a cultivated thing? Some misguided effort to distinguish herself from other poets who read in a voice that sounds, well, human? A Brenda Hillman reading is worth attending for a few minutes just to hear how stupendously awful her reading voice is. But be sure to sit in the back row, as close to the exit as possible.