An International Anthology of Sound Poetry

Curated By: Dimitri Bulatov

"We are living in an international, technological culture, and as we enter the new millennium, we urgently need new maps to guide us across the new interdisciplinary cultures surrounding us. This visionary anthology will offer a crucial guide to those innovative forms of multimedia poetry and poetics that most urgently require our attention."
Dr. Prof. Nicholas Zurbrugg, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

The period of the 1980s and 90s with its pronounced electronic-technological component in art brought, up to its critical peak, the problem of the end of an era of close links between art, humanities, and philosophy. This trinity which was typical for the whole of the 20th century was based on the overall anxiety concerning language and the options of its application to the surrounding world. The present state of computer and information technologies that have swiftly invaded all spheres of the human knowledge, forces an author (curator, publisher, researcher etc.) to exchange the anxiety expressed in the "big linguistic discourse" and interpretation techniques for direct operational activities, whose methods are directly related to physiology with all its regularities and versatile individual phenomena. This transition process is marked by a gradual blurring of once well-structured and clearly shaped areas of representation in literature and art. What are the historical categories of contemporary literature today? Where are the boundaries between genres shifting to? Answers to these questions can be found by dealing with one of the contemporary intermedia-trends, which is sound poetry.

More than half a century of creative efforts in the field of formal literature resulted not only in its total diffusion onto scientific and technical spheres remote from literature and art, but also in adjusting a number of techniques of synthetic construction of reality for its own use. Due to this development, works of sound-poetry obtained a form and inner structure that are quite untypical for traditional poetry. Its features are, on the one hand, a somewhat radicalized intermedia form whose composition is determined by the tempo and rhythm of phonation, pulsating sound cavities, quick verbal alterations and transitions, and unexpected intonation accentuation as well as various action-performative aspects etc., organized in an integral system of expressive meanings. On the other hand, contemporary sound poetry can be regarded as a technological, methodical element using both versatile electronic-generated options to produce, modify and represent a sound and a broad range of schemes for network interaction. A work of sound poetry produced due to its acoustic model balances between poetry and music and is ideally an elaborated working material in the form of a sound symphony.

The virtual landscape of sound poetry shows a great variety, among which we could describe several significant tendencies that rejoin the poetics of sound poetry:

Those trends prove the vitality of sound poetry today and its potential ability to harmoniously blend traditions with up-to-date achievements as well underlining the importance of crossing new technology with the presence of the body and its voice, thus formulating a conception of poetry open to any experiment.