How, how much, and why might a poet’s performance style change over time, and how can it be studied, beyond impressionistic description? What role might be played by venue and audience, media format, poetic content and form, and so on? Considering theoretical assumptions and methodologies in digital voice studies, this talk will explore these questions through the unlikely example of John Ashbery. A poet with a reputation as a non-performative reader, Ashbery read 19 times, from 1952 to 2014, at the 92nd Street Y’s. Recordings of Ashbery from the Y’s Poetry Center archives will provide a test case for new user-friendly, open-source tools in sound visualization and analysis of pitch and timing patterns, using leading-edge technology in speech recognition and signal processing.
Dr. MacArthur's research on poetry recordings and other performative speech synthesizes literary, performance, and voice studies. On this subject, she has published or has forthcoming work in PMLA, the Journal of Cultural Analytics, Stanford’s ARCADE Colloquy, Sounding Out!, Digital Humanities Quarterly and The Paris Review Online. In 2018 and 2019, she co-directed Tools for Listening to Text-in-Performance, funded by an NEH Digital Humanities Advancement grant, and she is a co-investigator on The Spoken Web, a related project funded by a 7-year SSHRC grant through 2025. She teaches in the University Writing Program and is an affiliate faculty member in Performance Studies at the University of California, Davis.
This event is organized by the Digital Culture/s Colloquium.