Andrew Joron reading a Hugo Ball soundpoem and his own poem “Dolphy at Delphi”


I’m interested in the instances when poets bring the work of other writers into their readings. How do these other texts/authors function in relation to the reader’s work/performance? This clip is from Andrew Joron’s Spring 2005 reading in Amherst, MA. Joron began his reading with some comments about the relationship between culture, politics, physics, and sound. He was able to talk about these issues in remarks on a Hugo Ball sound poem he was about to read. In Joron’s case, the Ball poem seems to function as a map of some of Joron’s aesthetic, philosophical, scientific, and social concerns. I love it when he says “Sound means a lot to me.” That is a pretty big understatement if you’re familiar with his Joron’s work. Here are the comments: comments on Hugo Ball poem

Here is Joron reading Ball’s poem Hugo Ball poem

Several poems later, Joron read “Dolphy at Delphi” from his book Fathom. I’m interested in how the discussion of the title as well as Joron’s brief comments before he reads the poem which suggest a backstory (“It’s about. In my mind it was about…”) gave me a more fleshed out environment for me to imagine the poem. On the page, I might not have framed the language in terms of the particular scenario Joron describes.

I love the little accidental slips/substitutions in Joron’s reading (“… the perpetual motion … emotion”) because they emphasize the importance of micro-level phonemic shifts and embedded undertones in his work. There is so much homonymic substitution and slippage in Joron’s work that when he (unconsciously?) deviates from the text it underscores the significance of tiny variations. This idea of error as alternate take comes up obliquely in the poem itself (“how the wrong notes compose their own song”). Also, if you listen to this recording you will learn what a “moldy fig” is: Dolphy at Delphi


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