Tom Raworth - "Catacoustics." In a mostly appreciative review of Tom Raworth's Collected Poems, published by Carcanet in 2003, William Wootten quotes the poet saying "I just can't read anything that bores me. I'd rather stare at a wall and think." In this 1993 basement tape, Raworth's voice is smooth, subdued, edgeless, his pacing a brisk allegro (his live readings are legendarily presto), his articulation wondrously precise (there's not an audible fault in five and three-quarter minutes), and his thinking, well, I can't speak for you, but nothing this nimble and engrossing had been in my head prior to hitting play. • This track gives us the first third or so of a sequence that runs to twenty-six pages in the Collected. The lines are for the most part short (excepting four paragraphs woven in at the three minute mark), and they bundle unpredictably: some remain isolate, others tumble into surprisingly sustained semantic patterns. There are jokes (including a limerick with a remarkable rhyme on the name "Barthes"), pictograms (mostly unvoiceable ones omitted in performance), snippets of dialogue, pataphysical axioms ("here gravity / is matter's nostalgia"), and insults ("local politics / you asshole"). Keeping up with it all is a boredom-abolishing challenge. "Something is thinking back to me."

Big Slippers On, recorded in October of 1993, archived at PennSound. Raworth's webpage here. More Raworth audio at The Poetry Archive. "Catacoustics" is one of critic Marjorie Perloff's PennSound featured selections for the spring 2006. Photos of Raworth reading in Chicago, 3 March 2006.

[Originally posted 12 March 2006] XML feed here. • Elsewhere on Third Factory: index, ensemble, nb, links.

Saturday -- 06 January 2007 -- permalink

The Lipstick of Noise is a product of the Third Factory • Inspired by the music blogs • And by Paul Blackburn's reel-to-reel deck. Intending to make good use of PENNSound and other sources of digital audio files of poetry • Comments welcomeXML.