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Poetry in Stereo

An Akai M-8 reel-to-reel tape recorder similar to the one that Doris Brathwaite transported around London on her motorbike to record Caribbean Artists Movement events in the late 1960s.

I am looking forward to speaking about the poetry of tape as part of the 2019 symposium of the New Zealand Modernist Studies Consortium. My paper for the symposium, “Poetry in Stereo: Towards a World Literature of Tape,” builds on my work on Kamau Brathwaite’s innovative use of the medium in the 1960s. As I show in Make It the Same, Brathwaite’s influential account of “nation language” in History of the Voice stems from his earlier use of the then new medium of tape. Since writing Make It the Same, I’ve had a chance to visit the wonderful George Padmore Institute in London and to listen to some of the extraordinary tape recordings made by Kamau Brathwaite and others, such as Doris Brathwaite and John La Rose, during their involvement in the Caribbean Artists Movement. I’ll be drawing on some of the fruits of that listening when I speak at the Univeristy of Waikato in Hamilton at the end of next week.


Published by Jacob Edmond

Jacob Edmond is associate professor in English at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the author of Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media (Columbia University Press, 2019), A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature (Fordham University Press, 2012), and of numerous essays, which have appeared in journals such as Comparative Literature, Contemporary Literature, Poetics Today, Slavic Review, and The China Quarterly.

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