Spring 1998 • Vol. XX No. 2 Book Reviews |

Heard and Unheard Melodies

In Their Own Voices: A Century of Recorded Poetry. Produced by Rebekah Presson and David McLees. With essays by Erica Jong, Al Young, and Rebekah Presson. Los Angeles: Rhino/Word Beat, R2-72408, 1996. 4 compact discs. $60.00. Where do poems exist? "A poem," says Jon Stallworthy in his Norton Anthology of Poetry "Versification" essay, "is a composition written for performance by the human voice. What your eye sees on the page is the composer's verbal score, waiting for your voice to bring it alive as you read it aloud or hear it in your mind's ear" (lxi). Stallworthy pushes this analogy between musical notation and the printed text of a poem, quoting Eliot's famous remark that a poet's concerns "are more those of a quasi-musical nature . . . than of a conscious exposition of ideas," but much as the parallel might alert Poetry 101 students to the importance of poems' sound and rhythm for their felt life, it oversimplifies the issue. The primary experience of music is always aural:

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Credentials

By Jay Rogoff

In Their Own Voices: A Century of Recorded Poetry. Produced by Rebekah Presson and David McLees. With essays by Erica Jong, Al Young, and Rebekah Presson. Los Angeles: Rhino/Word Beat, […]

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