*Last copies, almost sold out at the label. Limited edition of 200 hand-numbered copies.* After years of preparation, Recital is proud to present The 12th Annual International Sound Poetry Festival box set. Held in New York in 1980, this was the last festival of the pioneering sound poetry series started in Stockholm in the 1960s. This ambitious document holds nearly five hours of audio from 30 artists. A 240-page book with biographies, texts, and artwork from each artist supplements the edition, including program notes by Charlie Morrow and Sean McCann.
Organized by Sten Hanson and Charlie Morrow, the 10-day festival gathered a battalion of sound poets from around the globe to share the stage at Washington Square Church in Manhattan. Both established sound poets are juxtaposed with more obscure artists, some more fervent than others. Carles Santos, John Giorno, and The Four Horsemen, for example, convey a verbal onslaught. And Bernard Heidsieck, you can hear his shouted and snarled words of "Democratie II" shimmer against the walls and ceiling, amplifying in intensity as if he is screaming at the French Parliament in the Palais du Luxembourg. Not all performances are aggressive; Alison Knowles presents a theatrical ensemble reading (with bean performance), and the subdued conceptual work of Robert Joseph and Pier Van Dijk's for voice and the sound of turning book pages is particularly interesting.
The year 1980 seemed like a turning point for sound poetry: there were seemingly more new sound poets than ever, yet the genre began to dissipate and melt into a pool of other experimental sound practices with newer digital technologies. One can almost hear the generational change in these tapes, mid-exhale. But of course at the end of the day sound poetry is still alive and well, and splitting hairs as fine as these becomes more a matter of personal taste/perception than anything else. There will always be a romanticization of the beginning of any project or movement, the pure state, and luckily this collection includes many of the pioneers.
Artists included: Carles Santos, Jackson Mac Low, Greta Monach, Bernard Heidsieck, Katalin Ladik, Jerome Rothenberg, Mary Ellen Solt, John Giorno, Armand Schwerner, Charles Stein, Beth Anderson, Charles Amirkhanian, Richard Kostelanetz, Franz Kamin, Michael Gibbs, The Four Horsemen, Adriano Spatola, Paula Claire, Sten Hanson, Charlie Morrow, Glen Velez, Larry Wendt, Nina Yankowitz, Robert Joseph, Pier Van Dijk, Alison Knowles, Bern Porter, P. Clive Fencott, Bob Cobbing, and the Ocarina Orchestra.