READING WRITING HISTORICAL SOUND DUPLICATE TAPE
READING WRITING HISTORICAL SOUND DUPLICATE TAPE
Since the New Poetics Colloquium in 1985, the KSW has been recording many of the readings, talks and symposia held at our headquarters and elsewhere. Although this practice has only been pursued with diligence irregularly, the archive of tapes nevertheless accumulated into a collection of considerable scope, equaling 400+ hours of poetry/poetics audio, spanning 20 years.
Besides their archival function, the recordings originally served an immediate purpose: to make the readings and talks available for community and collective members who hadn't been able to physically attend the event. During the late 80s early 90s members of the collective and community often dropped in to the KSW on Friday afternoons to listen to the tapes. As such, the recordings were a successful extension of KSW's local publishing practices. But as frequent changes of headquarters and personnel brought many shifts in circumstance, and without ever having had a large enough budget to rent or buy its way into an ideal situation, it became increasingly impractical to make the recordings available in this way. During the mid-1990s Gerry Gilbert rescued the practice somewhat by recording almost all KSW events for later broadcast on his Vancouver Co-Op Radio show "radiofreerainforest". After Gilbert stopped making his recordings, and without other apparent means to distribute the material, recording of the events became something of a habit rather than a directed activity. The audio archive fell into disuse, even as it continued to grow. Since the new millenium, as the internet has emerged as a revolutionarily important new means for distributing poetry, the KSW has wanted to make the recordings available online. Aaron Vidaver volunteered his time to digitize most of the New Poetics tapes (and a number of others) in the early 2000s, but the enormous amount of time necessary to finish the project ground his initiative to a halt. We were finally able to get this project off the ground with some matching funds provided from the BC Government, which made it possible for Donato Mancini to take the time (about 4 full months) to digitize the rest of the archive.
One of the key features of this archive is, no doubt, the recordings of the New Poetics Colloqium, 1985. Fortunately, everything was recorded, and only two of the 34 tapes have been lost, so that most of this foundational event can be revisited, or newly experienced here. This archive also includes a number of recordings donated to the KSW but which were not actually KSW events; these were literary events that took place in the orbit of the KSW, organised by sometime friends, associates, acquaintances, detractors and enemies. The non-KSW recordings here include all the readings at R2B2 books were (organised by Renee Rodin, the store's owner), and Octopus Books. The VAG readings were organised by Lisa Robertson, in partnership with her important poetry/poetics/theory bookstore Proprioception Books.
Keeping in mind that the history, meaning, and critical context of the KSW project remains actively contested, we are posting a range of material that reflects the entire history of the school's activities, through many changes in personnel, rather than the mandate of any particular KSW administration. A look at the roster of names alone will give a picture of the wide social, literary, political scope of the KSW. As such it will also reveal the contradictions, dissonance, and dysfunction of the school that is key to its significance and longevity. We do not wish to give a false appearance of critical consensus. It will, appropriately, be impossible to extrapolate a homogenous KSW poetics from listening to the recordings available here.
The KSW has changed headquarters many times over the years, and has hosted many events off-site. Each change drastically alters the atmospheric conditions, a factor which effects the sound of recordings as much as the equipment used. A small number of recordings made at the VAG for example, are posted here because the readings themselves are good, but the ventilation system of the gallery creates a background of white noise that would be absent from a professional recording. The amazing R2B2 recordings, similarly, will seem raw to ears trained to a digital standard, but are of such literary, and historical value we are posting them.
We will slowly be adding as much bibliographic information as possible, including the names of all the works read and when and where all materials were published, and links to these items if they're available anywhere online. Check back for updates.
To report factual errors or unnecessary omissions, to provide information, to donate recordings, or to volunteer (much needed) help with this project, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.