This essay investigates the musico-poetic collaboration between Susan Howe and David Grubbs. Focusing on "Thiefth" (2005), the first of a CD series that collects "Thorow" (1987; 1990) and "Melville’s Marginalia" (1993), it examines the forms, effects, and implications of the two works’ remediation from printed to sonic product. At stake are notions of textuality and voice as well as issues of margins and marginalization, which Howe starts challenging on page. The shift from the written to the aural dimension does in fact intensify the poems’ anti-representative and anti-narrative drive, extending Howe’s dismantling of the visual frames. As the poet’s selective, anti-expressivist and anti-performative reading increases her textual scattering and fragmentation, foregrounding the sonic and material aspects of language, so does Grubbs’s experimentation with music, sound, and voice manipulation through the use of audio reproduction technology. If the insertion of pre-recorded ambient sounds generates acoustic effects that match the polyvocality and simultaneity of Howe’s visual poems, music amplifies their inherent dissonance and release from the constraints of signification. This intricate web of sonorities does not only defy the authority, stability and closure of the written texts. It develops an aesthetics of sound that augments Howe’s graphic experimentation and calls for a listening practice that might draw attention to the margins of history and society.

"Sounding the Text: Susan Howe and David Grubbs's 'Thiefth'"

PUGLISI, FLORIANA
2017

Abstract

This essay investigates the musico-poetic collaboration between Susan Howe and David Grubbs. Focusing on "Thiefth" (2005), the first of a CD series that collects "Thorow" (1987; 1990) and "Melville’s Marginalia" (1993), it examines the forms, effects, and implications of the two works’ remediation from printed to sonic product. At stake are notions of textuality and voice as well as issues of margins and marginalization, which Howe starts challenging on page. The shift from the written to the aural dimension does in fact intensify the poems’ anti-representative and anti-narrative drive, extending Howe’s dismantling of the visual frames. As the poet’s selective, anti-expressivist and anti-performative reading increases her textual scattering and fragmentation, foregrounding the sonic and material aspects of language, so does Grubbs’s experimentation with music, sound, and voice manipulation through the use of audio reproduction technology. If the insertion of pre-recorded ambient sounds generates acoustic effects that match the polyvocality and simultaneity of Howe’s visual poems, music amplifies their inherent dissonance and release from the constraints of signification. This intricate web of sonorities does not only defy the authority, stability and closure of the written texts. It develops an aesthetics of sound that augments Howe’s graphic experimentation and calls for a listening practice that might draw attention to the margins of history and society.
Susan Howe, David Grubbs, "Thorow", "Melville's Marginalia", audio textuality, vocal performance of poems, voice, sound, musical adaptation, acoustic technology, sound aesthetics, listening
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Sounding the Text_Susan Howe and David Grubbs's Thiefth.pdf

non disponibili

Descrizione: Articolo in rivista (PJAS)
Tipologia: Versione Editoriale (PDF)
Dimensione 3.62 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
3.62 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/311932
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact