Tuesday, August 07, 2007

University Project seeks Poetry Recordings & Information

Dear Jane Holland

I recently discovered your blogspot 'Poets on Fire'. It's a fantastic site and resource which, to me, seems to be doing a really important (much needed) job in fielding a lot of the scattered information on poetry events into one place.

With your extensive knowledge of various contemporary performance scenes, I wondered if you might be able to help me. I am trying to locate recordings of poets reading their work for a digitisation project.

I am working on a collaborative British Academy project on the history of British poetry performance, based at Southampton University. The aim of the project is to study changes in performance style in poetry readings, and their relation to the history of poetry over the last five decades. As part of this, we have constructed a research resource -- an online database of extracts from live poetry readings from 1960 to the present day, which is freely available to the public at http://poetry.eprints.org . We have been liasing with the British Library Sound Archive, Morden Tower, Apples & Snakes poetry promoters, and various poets and individuals with private collections of recordings.

Before finalising the design and officially launching the site, we are trying to expand the amount of material represented on it. In particular, we are trying to increase the number of recordings from the 1960s, but also from the late nineties, c.1995-2000.

Do you know of anyone or any organisation who may have live recordings of poetry readings, who I could contact? We would only want to make brief extracts from particular readings (most of the poets in the collection are represented by 2-3 single poems) and we would clear permissions for any material before using it online.

If you could help in any way, I would be incredibly grateful. Keep up the good work with the site!

Thanks for your time, and best wishes
Victoria Sheppard
(Please leave comments below if you'd like to contact Victoria)

1 comment:

Ms Baroque said...

What about the BBC's Poetry Proms? They may have started in 2000... I'm not sure.

Or the Poetry Jukebox - a website, you can google it. But I think it started in about 2003.

There's an AMAZING film (by Peter Whitehead) of a huge poetry "happening" at the Royal Albert Hall in 1966, called "Wholly Communion." I watched it on YouTube last year, was transfixed - especially by the bit with Harry Fainlight, which made painful watching, but would in its way be a period piece - and am now gutted to find that it's no longer there. Here's an imdb entry on it, though; it seems well-enough known and has loads of great people on it. Christopher Logue in particular, wow.

I'm sure you know about the old Caedmon recordings of poets? They're hard to find now but fascinating: my mother used to have an LP of Gertrude Stein reading her work. (And of course Dylan T, but you can get CDs of him easily.) Sorry, most of this is probably really obvious.