ENGL299_Perloff Essay

ENGL299_Perloff Essay - the  changing  profession The...

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Unformatted text preview: the  changing  profession The Sound of Poetry / The Poetry of Sound: The 2006 MLA Presidential Forum marjorie perloff and craig dworkin The Sound of Poetry Marjorie Perloff An onomatopoeic expression automatically entails the specification of what is being described. A pattering sound cannot come from a piece of wood. But when I was listening to [Peter Ablinger’s Berlin sound] recordings, I some-­ times couldn’t tell whether a sound was coming from thunder or a sheet of metal. I wanted to represent the sound, not the person who was producing it, nor its metaphorical significance. It took me quite some time to come up with a solution: My solution was not to find a solution, but rather to enter into the crevice between sound and language and make countless little notes. —Yoko Tawada, “The Art of Being Synchronous” THE PRESIDENTIAL FORUM HELD AT THE MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIA- TION’S ANNUAL CONVENTION IN 2006 WAS TITLED THE SOUND OF PO- etry, the Poetry of Sound.1 There were three related workshops— Sound Poetry, Sounding the Visual, and Poetic Sound in Transla-­ tion, as well as two dozen or so programs sponsored by divisions and allied organizations on specific poets or topics relating to the use of sound in poetry. Many of the papers delivered at these sessions have already been published in journals specific to their fields—for ex-­ ample, the Wordsworth Circle . Our organizing theme was prompted by two fairly simple and self-­evident propositions. The first is that poetry (the word comes from the Greek poiē sis , “making” or “creation”; in Medieval Latin, poetria means the art of verbal creation) inherently involves the structuring of sound. As Roman Jakobson put it, “Poetry is not the only area where sound symbolism makes itself felt, but it is a province where the internal nexus between sound and meaning changes from latent into patent and manifests itself most palpably and intensely” (“Linguistics” 87; cf. Welsh 3–24). The second proposition—or more properly conundrum—is that however central the sound dimension is to any and all poetry, no other poetic feature is currently as neglected. MARJORIE PERLOFF is professor emerita of English at Stanford University and currently scholar-in-residence at the University of Southern California. She is the author of many books on modernist and postmodernist poetry and poetics, including The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage (Princeton UP, 1981) and Wittgenstein’s Ladder: Poetic Lan- guage and the Strangeness of the Ordi- nary (U of Chicago P, 1996). CRAIG DWORKIN teaches at the Uni- versity of Utah, where he curates the digital archive Eclipse (english .utah .edu/ eclipse/). He is the editor, most re- cently, of The Consequence of Innovation: Twenty-First Century Poetics (Roof, 2008)....
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This note was uploaded on 02/26/2010 for the course ENGL 299 taught by Professor Mccabe during the Fall '09 term at USC.

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ENGL299_Perloff Essay - the  changing  profession The...

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