I have always loved listening to almost everything—
Hip-hop and R&B on 95.5 the Fox in Detroit in the late 80s/early 90s and then Allen Ginsberg
reading “America” from a beat generation box set. John Wieners’ “A Poem for Cocksuckers,” Anne Waldman’s “Uh-Oh Plutonium,” Tracie Morris’ “Project Princess,”—these are poems I knew by heart from listening.
When I was in graduate school Leslie Scalapino sent me a copy of Kenning Editions #12 with her poem "Way" on one cd and a compilation of works by Charles Bernstein, Hannah Weiner, Eileen Myles, Rodrigo Toscano, Bruce Andrews, Amiri Baraka, and more on the other. I played it over and over, just like a Mary J. Blige song 15 years earlier.
The Kenning Editions cd was exciting. The way being a DJ is because it’s not only about what’s on now but what’s coming, the transition, the space in between, the cold ending, the fade in/out, the contrast, and the sameness.
textsound is an attempt to imitate that pleasure and to make more of it. How wide is the space between music and poetry? What is that space like? How are they different and the same? What happens when you put Viki next to Linh Dinh next to Danish sound poets next to . . . What’s the work like of our “more established” musicians and poets? How does work by lesser known folks talk with it? And vice versa.
Music is much more popular than poetry, but they’re in the same family and I don’t know how you can know one and not the other. When I’m at the sound board, hosting a radio show, they always want to talk (sometimes yell) at each other.
We offer this site as a community of cultural workers working together in larger and smaller communities to push listening into making, to have fun fun fun being in text & sound.