Commentaries

Finding poetry on Twitter

Two tweets from Twitter user @alwaystheself discuss #thedress hashtag
Tweets from Professor Crystal Fleming (@alwaystheself) on #thedress

For many Internet users, social media constitutes the extent of their regular textual encounters. As a result, Web 2.0 platforms are increasingly becoming spaces that facilitate expressions of imagination and the processing of human experience. Hashtags on Twitter - # and word combinations that link 140-character messages called tweets - trend regularly on the site, reflecting the most popular topics identified by the platform’s algorithm. Those who use hashtags may tweet for a range of reasons, from participating in flash-in-the-pan controversies over the color of a dress to weaponized hashtags linked to ongoing protest movements like #BlackLivesMatter. Are tweets simply expressions of the Internet's id or might we find among them some of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “unacknowledged legislators of the world” poets?

Dead air

Sinéad Morrissey's "Through the Square Window"

Fernand Braudel is a historian of globalization who works within and against a tradition of geography as the science of colonial and state power. Volume 1 of Braudel's The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, first published in 1949, begins, in a deliberate gesture of departure, not with the eponymous sea and the plains around it but with the snow on the mountains. "Here we are far from the Mediterranean where orange trees blossom" (27), he writes, conjuring the tropes and conventions of "landscapism" in history as much as in poetry.

First reading of Cecil Taylor's '#6.56' (3)

Tstsi Jaji

Here I attempt to transcribe my initial impressions after listening once to the full album of Cecil Taylor’s recorded poem, Chinampas, and repeatedly (for perhaps nine or ten hearings) to the penultimate track, #6.56. I was drawn to the editors’ invitation to show the “under the hood” work that precedes a smoothly running piece of writing, their interest in how we deal with poems that exist only as sound texts, and their curiosity about what a first reading/hearing looks like.

Distanced Sounding: ARLO as a tool for the analysis and visualization of versioning phenomena within poetry audio

Kenneth Sherwood

Banner image for "Distanced Sounding" by Kenneth Sherwood

As readers, writers, students, teachers, or scholars of poetry, many of us have 'first-encounter' stories — hearing Poet X read for the first time; copying neglected Caedmon LPs in the library basement; borrowing a thrice-dubbed cassette of the Black Box Magazine or New Wilderness Audiographics; exploring the personal collection of a generous friend, poet, or teacher. In the days before the web, one might infer the performativity of David Antin, Jerry Rothenberg, Charles Olson, Anne Waldman, or Amiri Baraka through books like Technicians of the Sacred or Open Poetry or envision the scene of a raucous Beat coffeehouse reading, poet jamming with a jazz quintet — but recordings could be scarce.