Hearrg Voices

Charles Bernstein

in The Sound of Poetry / The Poetry of Sound

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226657424
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226657448 | DOI:
Hearrg Voices

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  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


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Though any reader can perform the written text of a poem, and indeed many poems need to be read out loud in order to make tangible the rhythm and sound patterning, a poet's reading of her or his own work has an entirely different authority. The poet's performance poses an arresting issue for poetry, for the differences among the alphabetic, grammaphonic, and live are not so much ones of textual variance as of ontological condition. Today's memorized recitations should not be conflated with the nonscripted poetry of analphabetic cultures or with the use of memory as part of the poetic process. Performance allows the poet to refocus attention to dynamics hidden within the scripted poem, refocusing emphasis and overlaying immanent rhythms. Thus, performance always exceeds script, just as text always outperforms audibility and the relation of script to performance, or performance to script, is necessarily discrepant.

Keywords: poem; read out; rythm; sound patterning; performance; audibility

Chapter.  2881 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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