Sound Poetry & Glossolalia – Swissnex, Cambridge, October 7

What follows are the stream from my lecture notes, and a free-flow of my impressions of a performance of sound poetry, from tonight at Swissnex, Cambridge. For reasons which will become clear with the writing, I will leave them in the plain text of the transcription, without translating them into standard grammatical prose.


Vincent Barras
Professor of the History of Medicine
University of Lausanne
Defeat of meanings but also plenitude when language goes insane the willingness among poets and artists to deal with exhaustive language 
Bob Cobbing, bob jubile
Bernard Heidsieck, Poem partition
Using the language to try to destroy and create new meanings
Cauchmare, Paul Hausmann
The gentlemen have deep , steady, mellifluous voices and diction the semblance of control thus over language going amok in the poems deep glottal reaches tapping stutters crazy but articulated with strange sanity
Paul Scheerbart, I love you
First attempt in history of literature to build a poem of destroyed language language that comes from nowhere from another planet destruction of the already known impossible to treat in classical way but possible to analyze language which is incorporated into the body
Glossolalia has been a constitutive element of Christianity since the beginning and also Islam Holy Spirit comes to apostles with tongues of fire at resurrection
Glossa tongue lalai to speak
Involving organs bound to tongue,
Or language
Psychoanalysis very interested in the phenomenon 
Attempts including by psychologist Saussure to make sense of bursts
Sound poetry has something to do with Glossolalia whether religious fury or psychiatric disease or poetic inspiration but not to do with meaning
Way of developing language in an unexpected way
Study of Glossolalia and sound poetry has a center with the Swiss though the phenomena are widespread and widely distributed through the West
Speculation on one true language and myths of origin


 With Jacques Demierre, Swiss free music improviser

Silent desperation of vocal chords like someone falling backward and sucking thin dry air lunatic straining to profoundness Barras has the desperation to his voice Demierre has the calm it is like a drum sax duet at times
We’re like brothers here in the music community hearing the cicada intro of the next poem draw us into strange concord and Demierre is like a green bullfrog in a peaceful pond on a magic dark night this poem has more of the sensual less pathos I enjoy it more it’s like my father now making animal sounds for me when I was four very comforting with brash surprise of ejaculations lurching enunciation a like a language teaching tape the recital of conjugations pronunciations drunken gurgling hissing and sussuration it’s all part of the voice and the joy of the human different from noise and sound art which take you out of people into environment poetry takes us to the soul yawning a man in bed hearing he dog growl for breakfast
The strain of the long effusion brings the strain of my own body into the flight and the hum and flutter is part of me and my own mind which breaks into effusion itself as it grooves with the flow second wind slap happy singing of the wind now it’s like plucked strings in a mystique concrete Lachenmann quartet death rattle baby with rattle in crib or dropping a yoyo fort da slurping and sipping from a straw never strays from the body now getting nasal like the insertion of a tracheal I remember the pain I remember dragging my blood soaked body to the phone with no pulse as the ambulance came the song again draws my into my own mind the meaning is there with me and my human associations
But again I think of the Other is it he himself or as I perceive him or some phantom or a fusion of us both but I just get pleasure now of the lizards in their summer bath and the insects on the window pane now getting human again the town cryer the boy selling the news the hubbub and the humming of the rabble in the city streets or simply two serious people reading strange poems
And the holy church of communion we are friends here drawn together by a pair if priests to make love and peace with a sky father
Gestures to the gut with the Sassure notes on dead languages flips and slips to the chin half men half parrots on perch in cage being studied by scientists semaphore flag floaters refs in a football game calling holding and offsides the doctor telling you it say ah



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