Understanding the Sound of Not Understanding

Jed Rasula

in Close Listening

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780195109924
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199855261 | DOI:
Understanding the Sound of Not Understanding

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  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


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Hearing is a physiological accident, while listening is psychological posture culturally disposed. To hear is to simply receive and register what is given and to listen is to correct and displace it. Music is a vocal sonority that impresses the ear as “poetic”which leads the author questioning if the voice was the sonorous, or the poem. To listen to the varieties of modern poetry reading is to encounter a version of poets' fear of poetry or a fear of what poetry might become if words wander too far off the page, and meanings drift apart from the words.

Keywords: hearing; physiological accident; listening; psychological posture; vocal sonority

Chapter.  13367 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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