Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Verse by Voice

Here's a curious project: people call in, and record themselves reading a pretty good poem aloud. Some have the text linked, some don't; my favorite in the "someone had to do it, maybe" category is the recording of Wallace Stevens's "The Snow Man" in bits and pieces via cell-phone voice mail; my favorite for sheer listening pleasure (so far--I haven't heard them all) is Yeats's "Adam's Curse" read by a hushed female voice, the tone enforced by the phone connection.

Remember Barthes on "the grain of the voice"? "The pulsional incidents, the language lined with flesh, a text where we can hear the grain of the throat, the patina of consonants, the voluptuousness of vowels, a whole carnal stereophony: the articulation of the body, of the tongue, not that of meaning of language."

(Ah, youth! Bought that book, The Pleasure of the Text, in 1981, I think; it came out in '73 in France, '75 in translation. Mais ou sont les jouissances d'antan?)

1 comment:

Danielle Mari said...

I am officially addicted to the site! It's both creepy AND endearing. Does the fact that the phone number is crossed out mean that the project is over? What a fabulous idea. It reminds me of the Speech and Accent Archive-- a web resource I use a lot as an actor and director. It's basically a map of the world. You click on any region and are treated to people from the area reading the same bit of text (one that happens to include every spoken sound) in English. Not only is it a great resource for dialect research, but it's also just charming to hear people trying to speak this inane bit of text. My favorite is an older man from Italy. He has such trouble getting through it, laughing the whole time. At the end, he says something like, "What is this!?" Anyway- thanks for sharing!