Thursday, May 12

record, erase, re-record

my babysteps into the world of LibriVox volunteering are going alright, so far. only one of the projects I've been working on has been completed this year-- a collection of Sappho's poems, translated by a fellow with the awesome name of Bliss Carman. I was the designated proof-listener for that recording. I'm also signed up to proof-listen these three other projects:

Poems by Adam Lindsay Gordon (about half finished)
The Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night, Vol. 8, translated by Richard Francis Burton (just getting started)
A Chinese Wonder Book by Norman Hinsdale Pitman (yet to see any progress)

listening to poems is great. they are almost all somewhere between 1 and 5 minutes long, and very quick to check.

I've recorded some poems, too. the first recordings I made were from a collection called Gleams of Sunshine by the Canadian minister Joseph Horatio Chant. I signed up to do three of his pieces: "Niagara's Rainbow," "My Sister Nell and I" (which was kind of depressing), and "Gather the Wayside Flowers." my sections are all done and proofed, but the whole collection is still in progress.

I'm now working on recording a whole spat of poems by Francis Thompson. apparently he might have been an infamous murderer? yikes. so far the poetry I've read isn't so scandalous--just chock full of classical allusions and fanciful introspections about love and beauty. yesterday, I noticed this line in the third of my assigned series--an ode to a goddess:

"O therefore you who are / What words, being to such mysteries / As raiment to the body is, / Should rather hide than tell"

interesting to think of words as the curtains and clothing of mystery. language obscuring but also accentuating the body of thought. I am remembering conversations I've had with friend Eric, the linguist, about what language happens to do for us, and how we force it into the service of our ideas. he would probably have more detailed things to say about the potential for words to cover up just as much as they might uncover.

all these thoughts want to be linked up with my memory of this arresting and bewildering art installation, Zeno Writing. dear Patti and I saw it in Houston last month. searching for it just now, I found a nice review of the piece from several years ago.

the Museum of Fine Arts - Houston posts some words about the Kentridge installation. Amber Ladd's review adds a bunch more words. my few words here might count, if I could think of what else to say about the film. words seem inadequate. but I can think of more descriptors if I try: stark. engrossing. looped. unwinding. none of these will convey enough of the room and the sound and the feeling of the art. if you go watch this other piece by the same artist, you might get a small sense of it. something more direct than words.

Zeno Writing is remixed from a book, it seems. The Confessions of Zeno, by Italo Svevo, published in 1923, originally in Italian. the book is probably in the public domain, given that date. but its translation may not be. for whatever reason or lack thereof, there is no LibriVox recording of it yet. maybe someday, though.

my other, non-poetical LibriVox recording work includes two whimsical, rambly chapters from British Goblins: Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions, by Wirt Sikes, and the preface and introduction to The Art of Bookbinding by Joseph William Zaehnsdorf. these are longer book projects, so it will be a while before they're finished and released in the LibriVox catalogue.

within the next week or so I need to get to chapter 25 of Anne of Green Gables and chapters 20 and 27 of Little Women. how could I not sign up to work on those recordings?

hey, you could join in and record some too. everyone is welcome.

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