Producing poems for the pod people

I’ve been recording audio versions of my poems over at shadow cabinet. These are all going onto a dedicated channel at Odeo, which includes an RSS feed that you can subscribe to if you want.

Some of the recordings are more basic than others, but all of them required some practice and multiple takes. Here’s one of the most experimental so far, a piece that began as an illustrated post at Via Negativa, Psalm for the Rapture. (This is a new and improved version from the one I posted this afternoon, for the five of you who already downloaded that.)


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I’ve started a seperate channel for the music I’ve been posting here: milk of amnesia (feed). I don’t know whether this actually qualifies as podcasting, since these are all such short cuts. The goal for the poems, at least, is to end up with files that are still small enough for someone with a dial-up connection to listen to, if they have the patience.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

9 Comments


  1. Is that your voice in the background, heard as voices (like the masses) or voices of others added to your recording? It sounds like you used your voice echoing as the background, which gave a cool effect so one would think it’s others surrounding you, as you read your poem.
    I like being exposed to experimental ventures. Cool!

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  2. Yes, all the voices are mine. In “Psalm for the Rapture,” I used a sound editor called Audacity to overlay multiple tracks, changing the pitch in each.

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  3. Perfect! Wow, that is really gripping. It’s like choir or chant. The subject matter is perfect for the form (great poem). It works so well.

    That reminds me of the pieces here:

    http://somewhere.org/

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned that site to you before… I was blown away by that just like this blows me away.

    I was on a real radio art kick for a while there.

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  4. Dave, I loved the idea of the chorus of your two voices (sounded like two different ages – father & son?) but unfortunately, the echo meant that I could barely hear the words. Maybe it’s just my hearing. But could you have an extra track where just one voice reads the words?

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  5. Bobby – Thanks, and thanks for the link – looks great! I’ll be sure to check it out.

    Natalie – Couldn’t you just follow along to the text of the poem? That was the idea behind putting in flash players at the base of each poem – so one wouldn’t be taken to seperate page to listen.

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  6. I like the chant-effect of the multiple tracks too, but like Natalie I was distracted enough by it that I had a hard time hearing the words. I listened to it before realizing the poem title linked to a page where I could listen and read at the same time. The high-pitched voice was the track that was the most distracting to me – it borders on chipmunk-holiday, a comical sound that doesn’t seem to fit with this, maybe multiple deeper voices would be better? On the other hand, that high pitch does have a horror-show freakishness to it, which seems appropriate for the end of the world, but I guess so many horror shows are so bad that the real effect it unintentional comedy.

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  7. Hey, thanks for the thoughtful critique. Obviously, I haven’t watched enough horror movies to even know the clichés. So it sounds like a valid criticism.

    On the other hand, your comment about barely being able to hear the words suggests to me that you need better speakers. The problem is I have a very good pair of speakers with my set-up here, so I have no idea what this might sound like on the average computer’s tinhorn.

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  8. Oops, Dave, somehow I hadn’t grasped that I could/should read the words as well as listen. H’m…..requires skills occasionally absent (like thinking and speaking at the same time). My computer speaker is fine, it’s the brain and hearing that are becoming less efficient, maybe. But seriously: I sort of agree with the Beer gentleman about the high-pitched voice being distracting, however I’m thrilled with your project of experimenting in this way, in this medium.

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