Contents of my or anyone’s recording archive result from milieu and surroundings. My collection reflects networks assembled through connections fused at Naropa (who has their own superb Poetics Audio Archive) and We Press at the foundation; its reach expands during my years in Albany, and continues to grow through my research in the field of electronic literature.
I co-founded We Press with Ted Farrell, a friend who I lived with during a year of graduate school at Virginia (1986-87). We was inspired by Anne Waldman’s proclamation, in a class a class of hers I attended at Naropa, that all young writers must start a magazine, to build networks and be engaged most fully (not only as writers but as readers, correspondents, and broadcasters of contemporary work).
I bought my first purposeful audio recorder, a simple handheld Sony cassette device, a week after completing Naropa’s Summer Writing Program in 1986—planning to use it as a composition tool, to “compose on the tongue” in Ginsbergian terms. Ginsberg described, in one of our classes, his successes and failures in using a recorder to “write” [see his Composed on the Tongue, Grey Fox (1980) for some discussion of his practice in this area]. His notion, writing-by-dictation, seemed compelling: I was about to embark on my first cross-country road trip so I imagined imparting my own observation dictations à la Fall of America. Little of substance came from that experiment, though I later ended up using that recorder to document some readings and band rehearsals; quality of these tapes, which I still have, is not good—this was rudimentary recording tech and cheap cassettes barely sustaining documentation.