Posts Tagged ‘spoken poetry’

One of the best and worst things about the age in which we live and the technology of the privileged is that in-person communication is almost becoming obsolete. At least that’s what I thought initially regarding introverts such as myself. When Covid-19 took away the coffee house open mics, the bar readings, the bookstore recitals, and slams in cramped clubs, however, I noticed a pang I’d not felt for some time – not necessarily a dire need to be in the presence of others, but a loneliness that comes from the lack of connection to the energy of music played to a crowd, the urgency behind a poem spoken to an audience. And yet, from our extended stay in, there was broadcast and saved for the eternal life of servers and digital memory everything performed and published during that time.

I’m a huge fan of chapbooks and poetry journals. I love taking my time with them. Creating the flow of each entry in my own voice according to the directions (or lack thereof) in their punctuation and formatting, but “…so much more than words is said in the saying of a poem.” That is to say I also relish how authors speak their own words. And when I Googled to see if there were any audio zines out there on the Web, no such thing popped up. Sure, there were podcasts and vlogs that featured interviews with poets who would also read their work, as well as journals with separate sections dedicated to recordings, but there didn’t appear to be any journals dedicated to publishing issues comprised of spoken words. For so many artists, words only live in the air, and I, as a trained academic, feel academia has short-changed the value of that avenue of expression. Be the change you want to see in the world. That’s tough for me, but….

Handheld conical bullhorn insdcribed with "Stanza Cannon" atop a piece of paper reading "a high-caliber audio zine" that extends from a typewriter.
Logo by Black Market Eagle

With an idea and a passion (and not much else), I decided to double down on my sporadically crippling impostor syndrome and put together Stanza Cannon – a quarterly published literary zine dedicated to audio poetry. The responses from friends and strangers alike, of all different backgrounds, were encouraging, and I’m happy to say the page view stats as well as the number of listens (per track and issue) were also heartening. I have no idea if I’m qualified to be doing this, but what is a journal editor other than a curator of content that speaks to their own intellectual and emotional leanings? And by taking on a roll of promoting the voices of others, I find myself once again connected to the soul of poetry – at times brought to literal tears by the power of some of the submissions sent to Stanza Cannon. I am also lucky enough to have had my passion for poetry reignited as something not wholly in my head, as translated from dried ink upon pages or lifeless pixels on eye-deadening screens, but pieces communicated via the most intimate of instruments: the human voice.