Sound and Affect (I)

One of the basic questions attending any presentation of a poem concerns sound. Good poems are equipped with good sound effects. Those effects involve considerations beyond rhyme. Always, the effects involve artifice. For example, when Yeats refers to Innisfree, he has no real interest in letting us know there are bees on the island. Rather, he conveys the sense of there being the sound of bees, using the resonant artifice of a phrase like “bee-loud glade.” That phrase, unlike a million paraphrases of it, is the one that moves us.

I want to investigate carefully the role of sound in presenting poems in a cyber gallery. The venue permits other dimensions of the poem to be realized with sound. That’s come up in earlier posts, particularly with respect to the odd coherence of Billy Collins’ speaking voice, his poems, and the computer. But it seems that even a little sound may sometimes be too much.

Today’s clip–a 30-second Dolby trailer–is one of my favorite sound effects ever. If you haven’t already played it and don’t recognize it, try to be conscious of your perceptions as you assemble the sounds and the visual. If you recognize the clip, do you find it infinitely replayable? Maybe it’s a just a guy thing, but I am deeply moved by it and love to play it again and again. Why? I can talk about all the subjective connotations and allusions to film history and romance I associate with this clip…but I’d prefer to hear from you first.

~ by matt on 18 June 2007.

One Response to “Sound and Affect (I)”

  1. This certainly brings back memories….but romance?? 😉

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.


Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.

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