Towards a Genealogy of Electro-Acoustic Literature

Poets began using the tape recorder as a form of "writing media" almost as soon as it had become available to the public in the late forties and early fifties. The history of the expressive possibilities of the recording-extended voice is varied and complex. Information concerning its features can be found scattered among a very large number of printed documents and recordings which can take some effort to locate. One can begin their study with these few works:

* Lars-Gunnar Bodin, editor, to The Pioneers Five Text-Sound Artists (Phono Sueco CD: PSCD 63 1 & 2, 1992). Works by Lars-Gunnar Bodin, Ilmar Laaban, Sten Hanson, Åke Hodell, and Bengt Emil Johnson. The liner notes include an account of the development of text-sound composition by one of its founders.

*Henri Chopin, POESIE SONORE INTERNATIONALE (Paris: Jean-Michel Place, 1979). An extensive history of sound poetry in French. This book was also published with two cassettes containing a comprehensive anthology of sound poetry that was being practiced in the seventies.

*Bob Cobbing and Peter Mayer, Concerning Concrete Poetry, (London: Writers Forum, 1978)

* François Dufrêne, "Le Lettrisme et toujours pendant," Opus International No. 40-41(Paris: Editions George Fall, 1973). Includes a small record, L'Autonomatopek I containing rare examples of poésie sonore and Lettrist poetry selected by Dufrêne of work by himself, Bob Cobbing, Isidore Isou, Gil J. Wolman, Jean-Louis Brau, Jacques Spacagna, and Henri Chopin.

* Brion Gysin, Here to Go: Planet R-101, interview by Terry Wilson (San Francisco: Re/Search Publications, 1982).

*Bernard Heidsieck, Derviche/Le Robert (Paris: Les Editeurs Evidant, 1988). The French text to Bernard Heidsieck's masterwork of 24 sound poems based on the famous French dictionary. Bernard Heidsieck was the winner in of the national French grand prize in poetry in 1991.

*Arrigo Lora-Totino, ed., futura poesia sonora (Milan: Cramps Records 5 CDs, CRSCD 091-095, 1989). A CD release of an extensive sound poetry anthology including contemporary readings of many historical sound poems. Originally produced on seven LPs in 1978. With an extensive booklet in Italian and English, containing many documents and a critical history by Lora-Totino.

* Christian Scholz, Untursuchungen zur Geshichte und Typologie der Lautpoesie (Obermichelbach: Gertraud Scholz Verlag, 1989). The history and practice of text-sound composition is part of the larger history of sound poetry. This work contains perhaps the most extensive bibliography and discography on sound poetry to date. As this present page is only a short display of examples for the list weary, casual browser a somewhat longer biblio/discography can also be accessed.

* Klaus Schöning, ed., Neues Hörspiel: Texte Partituren (Frankfort: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1969). A classic anthology of das neue Hörspiel work by such writers, composers, and sound poets as, Peter Handke, Max Bense, Ludwig Harig, Ernst Jandl, Friederike Mayröcker, Franz Mon, Reinhard Döhl, Gerhard Rühm, Kriwet, and Mauricio Kagel. Also contains a small record of examples.


Last Modified 20 January 1998