There are several opportunities to hear Old Norse poetry recited online, through there are also lots of things claiming to be Old Norse / original Viking / ancient Nordic that are nothing of the sort! One of the places to go both to learn Old Norse and to hear some extracts of poetry being recited is Jackson Crawford's series of YouTube videos (a playlist focused on the Poetic Edda can be found here). In the short video below, he reads from Hávamál.

Reading of Skaldic Verse

(c) David Baker and Orri Tomasson / The Orkney Project

Listening to Skaldic Verse

Skaldic verse is perhaps the most difficult literary genre to get to grips with as a student of Old Norse, and it is also daunting to read aloud! A good example of several (quite different) skaldic poems is provided by Orri Tomasson (reading the Old Norse), and David Baker (reading the translations). They feature skalds with a connection to Orkney, including Earl Rögnvaldr Kali Kolsson. You can see a full list here. You can also listen to some short recitations of Old Norse poetry here.

Blog Post about Light in the Dark Ages

From 'Light in the Dark Ages' by Adam Parsons

(c) Adam Parsons. 

Reciting Poetry in Performance

There are several examples of Old Norse poetry being recited on TV, in performance, in an exhibition (for example the Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition at the British Mueum), or re-enactment situation. Some re-enactors and living history enthusiasts include recitations in reconstructed settings, or original performance situations. Adam Parsons has written an interesting blog post for the World-Tree Project about the play of light in the Viking Age hall which has a bearing on this reconstructed performance situation. On a very different scale is the recitation of Old Norse poetry as part of the Son et Lumiere performance 'Triquetra' in the video below. It was produced for Illuminating York 2013 and projected onto Clifford’s Tower in the centre of the city. It contains a number of recitations of Old Norse by scholars from York, Cambridge and Aberystwyth.

Dramatic Reading of 'Skírnismál' (the curse)

Dramatic Reading of 'Skírnismál' 

(c) Old Norse Poetry in Performance

Dramatic Reading

A simple way to bring Old Norse poetry off the page and recognise the dramatic qualities of a poem such as 'Skírnismál' ('The Lay of Skirnir') is to assign different speakers and recite it as a collaborative performance. Here postgraduates of the Faculty of English at the University of Oxford perform the opening lines of the poem during the Old Norse Poetry in Performance (ONPIP) Conference at Somerville College, on Friday 24 June. Although the set is very simple, and the performance recited rather than delievered with instrumental accompaniment, it nontheless highlights its performative qualities.