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Distant Reading: Performance, Readership, and Consumption in Contemporary Poetry (Modern & Contemporary Poetics) 2nd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The practice of 'close reading' is misguided because one cannot locate the meaning of a contemporary poem in a singular, solitary encounter between one printed manifestation of the text and one sensitive reader. Rather, a contemporary poem produces its meaning across networks of readers, performance, intertexts, and visual presentation.
In fact, he argues, a poem is never "finished." A poem is the totality of its ongoing historical activity. Much of that activity will never be recorded in writing and could not be known in its entirety.
The 'work' of a poem is not some meaning or assertion contained in the uttered text. Rather, a poem's work is the entire field of interaction in which performance occurs.
Performance extends, complicates, and sometimes transforms a poem's meaning. Oral performance makes possible an 'extended semantic repertoire' in which poetry fulfills more of its potentialities. "Each poetry reading represents a collective effort to create something out of written texts that is still unarticulated," he says.
I wish this book had included an audio CD of contemporary poets reading their recent work. Given the book's emphasis on performance the inclusion of audio material would be logical and helpful.