Recording Modernism - SAMLA Special Panel - June 18

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Joseph Pizza/Belmont Abbey College
contact email: 

South Atlantic Modern Language Association

Special Session Panel: Recording Modernism

As part of the increasing digitization of the humanities, the past ten years or so have seen the emergence of digital sound archives that offer free access to recordings of modern and contemporary poets reading their work. Alongside those of for-profit, "spoken word" albums, these recordings have become increasingly common in classrooms, lectures, and scholarship. As the initiation of pioneering recording projects, like those undertaken by the Library of Congress, the Woodberry Poetry Room, or the Caedmon spoken word series, coincides with high and late Modernism, this corpus of materials offers scholars of the period unique challenges and opportunities for critical investigation. Among these are questions concerning the nature of the recordings themselves, the relationship that they have with the printed text, and the information that they provide about the particular author and his or her world. Although they are often approached as mere supplements to the written text, recordings by Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas, and Langston Hughes, to name only a few of the better known instances, challenge uncritical notions of "voice" and "text" by encouraging listeners to reconsider the relationships between poetry and music, and between writing and speech. In attempting, then, to come to terms with these materials, this panel will seek to better understand the status and use of Modernist poetry recordings in current pedagogy and scholarship. Proposals for papers on any aspect of the subject would be welcome for consideration. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words by June 18th to Joseph Pizza at