Poetry, spoken aloud, lifted from the page or released spontaneously from the psyche, recorded and combined with other sounds such as music or drones or field recordings, whether a concoction from the studio or the capturing of a performance—this is what I have been looking for since the end of 1978. That was the year I was given a copy of An American Prayer: poems by Jim Morrison, a collection of urban field recordings, and music by the remaining Doors. I had just started writing poems of my own the previous year and this was an introduction to poetry as grand theater, as opera, as cinema.
And then what? Not much. There hasn’t been much else like it until recent years. A few recordings here and there, usually vastly different in content and scope (think of Gil Scott-Heron’s early street corner performances or Laurie Anderson’s Big Science). In general, recorded poetry is hard to come by for the average consumer. It’s a pretty obscure specialty. But recordings of poetry, music, and other sounds? Almost unheard and unheard of.
That’s why I’ve started this blog. So we can hear each other. So that we can find each other. So that we can find out how to do what we want to do. And so that an audience might become aware of us, too.
I’d like this blog to become a collective enterprise, bringing in people with considerably different talents and points of view. I really hope it’s not all about me: I get enough of myself every day of the week. I’m pretty well acquainted with my opinions and they’re generally not worth sharing.…So, besides trying to engage other people who might know a lot more about recorded poetry than I do, I’d like this blog to work in several ways: one is to introduce poet and audience to what’s happening out there today; a second goal is to trace the history of this “genre”, to find earlier practitioners and, I hope, to make their work more accessible to the public; and, finally, I’d like to have a tech section to make it easier for poets to record their work (if you’re a poet collaborating with musician friends you’ve got it made, but if you’re more isolated or socially dysfunctional, like me, and are inclined to work alone you’ll need all the help you can get).…I hope to attract poets, musicians, recording engineers, and, of course, fans.