As one of the paradigmatic literary genres of both the historical avant-garde and the neo-avant-garde, sound poetry should not merely be understood in terms of formal experimentation, but also as an intervention into the politics of language: to speak with John Cage, a kind of “demilitarization of language.” Cage, however, understood this notion on a highly formal level, with influences from the philosophy of Zen, seeking to refrain from imposing expressions of the ego on his materials.
The poet Guillaume Apollinaire was for the record. Between 1913 and 1914, he wrote repeatedly about the impact of recording technology on lyric poetry.
In a letter written on August 30, 1964, Marianne Moore recounts listening to an old recording of her poem, “Rigorists,” that was playing that night on the BBC. “We had dinner at a little Greek Casa Blanca (very near) but stayed up late to hear me on the BBC—on a borrowed transistor,” Moore writes to her friend Hildegard Watson.
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Interviewed by the BBC a half-century after his service in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, Robert Graves recalled the impossibility of relating his World War I experience to family in England
Graves: [T]he idea of being and staying at home was awful because you were with people who didn’t understand what this was all about.