In the summer of 2022, research assistants Don Shipton and Teddie Brock took part in a roundtable discussion that explored the archival work of student researchers involved with the audio archives of Canadian poet, Fred Wah. Alongside his literary and academic work, Wah has had a longstanding practice of recording poetry readings, lectures, and conversations, documenting key moments in North American poetry.
This sonic-archival meditation highlights the impact of recording technology on the trajectory of poetic circulation and composition, as it brings together the ‘many voices’ that constituted Wah’s listening and recording practices as a young poet. The first part of this episode will revisit a recording of Wah’s conversation with Deanna Fong, co-director of the Fred Wah Digital Archive, in which Wah reflects on the significance of portable tape recording to literary community-building and the development of a poetic ‘voice.’ The episode will also present a selection of archival clips documenting the poets whose recorded voices Wah encountered throughout the 1960s, including Charles Olson, Louis Zukofsky, Denise Levertov, and Ed Dorn, among others.
Special thanks to Kate Moffatt and Miranda Eastwood for their production support in the making of this episode, and to Simon Fraser University’s Special Collections and Rare Books for hosting the “Mountain Many Voices” roundtable event.