Wednesday, 30 November 2005

New Adventures In Sound Recording: Poetry

This from The New York Times, online (see below, in a slightly smaller font):

[The T.S. Review recalls a lecture given a few years ago, by the American innovative poet Charles Bernstein, about the coming age of the digital revolution in poetry recording, where he called for all poems to be spoken and recorded and archived, in an accessible universal format. He also praised the pioneering work of Swifty Lazarus in its poetry recording experiments. It is good to see British and Irish poetry also launching such an enterprise, and one hopes it will link to Mr. Bernstein's site.]

A new Web site under the auspices of Andrew Motion, the poet laureate of Britain, will collect recordings of poets reading their own works. The Poetry Archive (www.poetryarchive.co.uk) goes online today with recordings of Margaret Atwood, above right, Harold Pinter, Simon Armitage, U. A. Fanthorpe and Seamus Heaney, who is listed as the organization's president.

The site also has historical recordings by Robert Browning, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Tennyson, and W. B. Yeats, among others. The recording project, begun five years ago, captured Charles Causley and Allen Curnow shortly before their deaths.

"Actors may (or may not) read poems well," Mr. Motion said in a statement, "but poets have unique rights to their work, and unique insights and interests to offer as we hear their idiom, pacing, tone and emphases." He added, "They all, in their different ways, validate the intention of the archive to preserve the mystery of poetry while tearing away some of the prejudices which can make it appear unduly 'difficult' or separate from familiar life."
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