a magazine for your ears?

I love this. The Drum: A Literary Magazine for Your Ears.

The amazing thing about it? No text!

One of the questions in the recently-completed Ten Questions on Poets & Technology series was: “Technology is enabling poets today to take poetry off the page in ways that were previously inconceivable. Either comment on [videopoem X] or provide a link to and comments on a different piece of work that uses technology to take the poem off the page.”

Some respondents – most? – answered in so many words, with varying degrees of emphasis: No. Poetry belongs on the page. Poetry is text.

I’m a slave to text myself. It’s almost impossible for me to grasp a poem (intellectually, emotionally, dare I say aurally) without seeing it on a page. I can’t conceive of composing without writing, without the visual affirmation of text on a page.

One respondent, however – Rik Roots, who answered the Ten Questions on his own blog – pointed out that poetry pre-dates text by a long way, that writing itself is just another technological advancement poetry has wrapped itself around.

Rik’s response pulled me up short and made me ask – what am I missing? What does this enslavement to text mean for the way I experience poetry?

Lots of poetry journals have audio. But audio and text. Or, (in some cases), audio and video.

But what about just audio?

What would it be like to hear, instead of read, a whole issue of a poetry journal?

(This ties in somehow sorta to Amy King‘s technology idea.)

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

5 thoughts on “a magazine for your ears?”

  1. Hi Nic
    My only problem with this is that I have distorted sound in the high frequencies and the spoken word on tape/machines/tv’s as opposed to actual voice is almost impossible to understand. I love it when recordings of poems come with the page of text, too. A combination would be great since I do like to hear what a reader’s voice is like.

  2. Yeah, what that Rik kid said. The classic epic poems? All from an oral (and aural) tradition. Socrates did not have such a good opinion about “the text,” in some much as it involved writing.

    This is from the famous The Atlantic article Is Google Making Us Stupid? (You can google for the link).

    “Maybe I’m just a worrywart. Just as there’s a tendency to glorify technological progress, there’s a countertendency to expect the worst of every new tool or machine. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads, they would, in the words of one of the dialogue’s characters, “cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful.” And because they would be able to “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction,” they would “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant.”They would be “filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.” Socrates wasn’t wrong—the new technology did often have the effects he feared—but he was shortsighted. He couldn’t foresee the many ways that writing and reading would serve to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge (if not wisdom).”

    Um, yeah. What applies to knowledge and information may indeed apply to poetry (and wisdom).

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