So I was trying to find some cool poetry stuff to write about and I happened upon this great collection of audio recordings in the Woodberry Poetry Room. Go to the link and you’ll find a list of many recognizable names reading their work and sometimes just speaking with someone. After watching the documentary “Listen to Me, Marlon,” a wonderful documentary about Marlon Brando that uses recorded tapes that he recorded as a coping mechanism for his personal trials and interviews, I’ve been a little obsessed with audio recordings of famous artists. The director then used these tapes as a way to get through his life and used mostly images of him and clips of him behind scenes of movies and being interviewed. I feel extremely attached to this way of experiencing an artist because the experience of hearing the artist in your ears is such a unique one. Often times these recordings have subtle place markers like echoes, audience reactions, laughing, and sometimes the artist will pause or get caught up in what they’re saying. We spoke about how reading a poem aloud can create a different poem so this collection is even more interesting because most of them take place in the same room. A lot of these poetry readings have Q&As and the writers often relate how they came to write their poems. I think this is wonderful because it really draws out that our favorite poets are usually our favorite thinkers and philosophers.
I also think that as these recordings are all taking place in the same room this creates a virtual experience of time and place. For the imaginative writer this can be really evocative experience. It is intimate because unlike a reading you do not get dressed up to listen to an audio recording of Charles Olsen or Ezra Pound. You sit in your pajamas and the experience is recreated for the personal you. There are also photos of the room so it really brings it alive, at least it did for me.
Go! Listen to some poets in this space!
P.S. I realize there are not that many women are POC in this list, but that wasn’t new news.