Vox 30: Elbow says Voice is Resonant and Authentic

Here I’ll propose a possible model for the resonance in writing, which I call authentic voice. Intention and meaning: (a) when the words are 100% meaning, all meaning and no static–all the meanings cohere and work together; (b) when the words are 100% intended; not “sincere” except in the larger sense of calling on the whole self, whole organism. No meanings spilling off to the side. This doesn’t cut out ambivalence or irony–but it must be ambivalence and irony that are fully “realized”–that all work and don’t undermine.

The Main Dilemma in this model is just that the words fit me, nothing else. This is a condition for our perception of resonance, most often. And so unless we are good readers, we might miss certain special or odd kinds of resonance; and we might think resonance is there when it’s not there if the not-so-resonant words touch off strong vibrations in us. But that complication and difficulty doesn’t mean that we have to rule out the possibility of resonance actually inhering more in some texts than others.