Stephen Ratcliffe reads the entirety of one of his 1,000-page books

10-hour recording added to PennSound

C o n t i n u u m, written between January 5, 2011 and September 30, 2013, is the fourth book in Stephen Ratcliffe's ongoing series of 1,000-page books, each written in 1,000 consecutive days.

Listening to Ratcliffe reading the words of the day on the page as it turns from one day to the next, one hears the poem's acoustic 'shape': the length and pitch of its syllables and words (plus those silences between them) sounding the air. What one doesn't hear is its visual 'shape': words set in Courier, font of equivalent spacing; the nine lines on the page divided into four stanzas; first three lines all the same length, followed by two pairs of indented lines (both first lines the same length, both second lines six spaces shorter), followed by two final lines (back on the left margin, both lines also the same length) (see photo of "9.30", top right).The visual 'shape' of the words on the page 'corresponds to' / 'performs' the 'shape' of 'things' / 'actions' / 'events' out there in the world, which are themselves being 'pointed toward' / 'simply recorded' / 'described' / 'transcribed' / 'enacted' / 'documented' / 'testified to' / 'celebrated' in the first and last stanzas and 'considered' / 'thought about' / 'reflected upon' in the two middle ones.

Ratcliffe's readings of the previous volumes in his series (HUMAN / NATURE, Remarks on Color / Sound, and Temporality), in collaboration with the musicians in Thingamajigs Performance Ensemble, are also available on PennSound. The texts of all four books are available at Editions Eclipse.

Here are the segments of the ten-hour audio recording of Ratcliffe performing Continuum. Zach Carduner engineered the recording and then edited and segmented it. Stephen Ratcliffe himself contributed part of the description/commentary above.

  • Part 1: 1.5 to 4.14 (56:50): MP3
  • Part 2: 4.15 to 7.23 (57:04): MP3
  • Part 3: 7.24 to 10.31 (58:14): MP3
  • Part 4: 11.1 to 2.8 (57:36): MP3
  • Part 5: 2.9 to 5.18 (56:37): MP3
  • Part 6: 5.19 to 8.26 (53:33): MP3
  • Part 7: 8.27 to 12.4 (55:10): MP3
  • Part 8: 12.5 to 3.14 (57:26): MP3
  • Part 9: 3.15 to 6.22 (55:21): MP3
  • Part 10: 6.23 to 9.30 (57:16): MP3