Seminar, October 20-21, 2009.

Poetry Today, Seminar, October 20-21, 2009. A collaboration between The Nordic Department, The Department of Language, Literature and Culture, The Department of Aesthetic Studies, The Doctoral School in Arts and Aesthetics and Verbale Puppiller.



Charles Bernstein

AbstractsPosted by Lasse Gammelgaard Tue, October 06, 2009 14:17:18

Hearing Voices

Considerations of the ontology of sound in recorded voice, considering the implications for poetry of one hundred years of voices on tape. The conjuring of voice unattached has a profound significance for poetry as a medium. The grammaphone reverses the Jakobsonian definition of poetry: it incites the perception of mechanical sound as if it were speech. The grammaphone is a reverse order poetry machine. The recorded voice only speaks; the possibility for dialog or response always present at a reading – where the presence of an audience intimately affects what is being presented – is illusory, making our close listening across the electrostatic barrier all the more our own private affair. The recorded reading reenacts the conditions for dialog without its actual presence, unless we want to consider the presence of the imagination. For the imaginative projection solicited by close listening to the grammaphonic poem is the one writing has required all along. For teachers, one obvious implication of the archive of recorded poetry becoming more available is that listening to the poem read by the poet might become a commonplace feature in any course. The sound file would become, ipso facto, a text for study, much like the visual document. Another central issue is the effect that sound files might have on scholarly editions.

Bernstein is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania. With Bruce Andrews, he edited L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. From 1990 to 2003, he was David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Director of the Poetics Program, which he co-founded, with Robert Creeely. In 2002, he was appointed SUNY Distinguished Professor (the university's highest rank). Bernstein has been writer-in-residence or visiting faculty at Columbia University, Princeton University, Brown University, Temple University, Bard College, the New School for Social Research, Queens College, and the University of California at San Diego and is an associate faculty member of the Transdisciplinary PhD Program on "Languages, Identities, and Globalization," Faculty of Arts & Sciences, University of Coimbra (Portugal). Charles Bernstein is the author of 40 books, ranging from large-scale collections of poetry and essays to pamphlets, libretti, translations, and collaborations.

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