REVIEW: “Channeling Voices” by Andy Duncan

Review of Andy Duncan, “Channeling Voices”, in Tod McCoy and M. Huw Evans, eds., Pocket Workshop: Essays on Living as a Writer (Hydra House Clarion West Writers Workshop, 2021): 57-62 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

“Voice,” Duncan says, is one of those things where “we sure do recognize it when we read it or write it” (p. 58) even if saying what it is remains elusive. Duncan’s piece addresses two different types of voice that can be channeled: The metaphorical “voice” of the author, that thing which gives each individual writer something distinctive that no other author has; and the much more literal voices of people who speak, to themselves or to others. How can one preserve the former without erasing the latter? How can an author “channel” a variety of speeches, rhythms, patterns of exchange and interaction without losing what is distinctive about their own way of telling stories? Duncan gives concrete advice, on how to listen, how (and what!) to collect, what to pay attention to, making this a valuable practical piece.