ShortCuts: Short stories about how literature sounds

Released monthly on The SpokenWeb Podcast feed, ShortCuts minisodes take listeners on a deep dive – via short, sonic cuts – into the audio collections of SpokenWeb.

Developed from ShortCuts blog posts on SPOKENWEBLOG, ShortCuts minisodes consist of original audio content produced for The SpokenWeb Podcast. Audio clips are short – ranging from background noise to a short poem – accompanied by audio commentary that explores what was so surprising, perplexing, moving, delightful, and/or memorable about hearing that archival sound.

About 5-10 minutes, the minisodes are based on an audio clip usually no more than 3 minutes in length.

The practices of cutting and splicing invoked by the title ShortCuts recall the media history of the analogue recordings within SpokenWeb’s collections, as does the visual logo for ShortCuts designed by SpokenWeb RA Manami Izawa.

By creating a digital space informed by analogue techniques of making, ShortCuts minisodes ask: what does it mean and what is possible (technologically, phenomenologically, ethically, poetically) to cut and splice digitally? What kinds of new stories and audio-criticism can be produced through these short archival clips?

ShortCuts minisodes are produced by Katherine McLeod, hosted by Hannah McGregor, and mixed and mastered by Judith Burr.


ShortCuts 3.2

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November 22, 2021

What the Archive Remembers

EPISODE SUMMARY In this episode, ShortCuts explores one of the methods of listening from the previous episode of The SpokenWeb Podcast. That episode, produced by Julia Polyck-O’Neill, listens to the emotional weight of archives. Julia’s conversations with poet Lisa Robertson uncover the ways in which archives record the relationships between memory, affect, and mortality. In […]

ShortCuts 3.1

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October 18, 2021


EPISODE SUMMARY ShortCuts is back! Season Three of ShortCuts begins with a listening exercise. We attune our ears to what it sounds like and feels like to hear archival clips ‘cut’ out of context. Join ShortCuts producer Katherine McLeod in this exploration of the sonic and affective place-making of ShortCuts as podcast. What kind of […]

ShortCuts 2.10

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July 19, 2021

Alone Together

EPISODE SUMMARY For our last minisode of season two, ShortCuts dives into the archives of The Words & Music Show, a monthly series of poetry, spoken word, music, and dance performances that has been happening in Montreal for over twenty years. Last year, SpokenWeb RA Ali Barillaro was digitizing that collection when she heard a […]

ShortCuts 2.9

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June 21, 2021

Situating Sound

EPISODE SUMMARY On this ShortCuts, we dive into a new audio collection: Gerry Gilbert radiofreerainforest Collection, accessible through SFU Library’s Digitized Collections. We’ll hear a recording of Dionne Brand reading in Vancouver with Lee Maracle of the Stó:lō nation. The recording of this reading was then played on the local radio program radiofreerainforest on August […]

ShortCuts 2.8

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May 17, 2021

Contrapuntal Poetics

EPISODE SUMMARY  In this ShortCuts minisode, listen to the contrapuntal poetics of poet Alexei Perry Cox. In a recording made at home, Alexei reads and improvises in response to a second voice in the room – the voice of her daughter Isla. Their interaction itself could be heard as a poem. Meanwhile, sounds of place enter […]

ShortCuts 2.7

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April 19, 2021


EPISODE SUMMARY This month, it is April – the month of poetry. The audio we will be listening to is a poem by Canadian poet Phyllis Webb. In fact, it is a series of poems from Naked Poems, poems that open up space and that leave room for the listener to listen – to listen […]

ShortCuts 2.6

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March 15, 2021

Listening Together

EPISODE SUMMARY March is a time of year when you can hum along to “It Might as Well be Spring,” but, on other days, it can feel like winter might never end. Can we hear spring in the archives? And what does it feel like to listen to sonic representations of change – at a distance […]

ShortCuts 2.5

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February 15, 2021


EPISODE SUMMARY In this season of ShortCuts we’ve spent some time in a 1969 recording of poet Muriel Rukeyser, and we’re going to stay in that recording for this minisode, partly due to the depth of material within this single recording and partly as an opportunity to reflect upon what a minisode can do – […]

ShortCuts 2.4

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January 18, 2021

You Are Here

EPISODE SUMMARY This ShortCuts minisode listens to one of the January readings that we heard about last time: a reading by Muriel Rukeyser that took place on January 24, 1969. Along with listening for mentions of January in the recording, this minisode listens to how Rukeyser’s reading enacts the very connection that she describes – […]

ShortCuts 2.3

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December 21, 2020

Audible Time

EPISODE SUMMARY In trying to listen for time, this ShortCuts minisode listens for the New Year in SpokenWeb’s audio collections. What hopes do audiences have for the new year? And how do archival recordings help us understand our affective relation to time in our present moment? The audio for this ShortCuts minisode is cut from […]

ShortCuts 2.2

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November 16, 2020

The Poem Among Us

EPISODE SUMMARY This month’s ShortCut is an archival recording which transports us into the feeling of being at a live poetry reading. A feeling we are craving (right now in November 2020) as the covid-19 pandemic and social distancing continue. What is it that we are really missing about the live listening experience? The poetry? […]

ShortCuts 2.1

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October 19, 2020

Introducing ShortCuts

EPISODE SUMMARY Welcome to ShortCuts. To kick off the new miniseries season, Katherine invites us into an audio remix of short clips from deep in the archive to consider: what does it mean and what is possible (technologically, phenomenologically, ethically, poetically) to cut and splice digitally? What kinds of new stories and audio-criticism can be […]

ShortCuts 1.7

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July 20, 2020

Audio of the Month – As Though Her Voice is Dancing

EPISODE SUMMARY In episode 7 of The SpokenWeb Podcast (“The Voice is Intact”), producer Hannah McGregor and guest Jen Sookfong Lee listen together to Gwendolyn MacEwen reading the poem “The Zoo” (recorded in Montreal, 1966). As we listen to them listening on the podcast, we hear a gasp and even an exclamation: “Melodious!” What was […]

ShortCuts 1.6

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June 15, 2020

Audio of the Month – From Poetic Surveillance to an Avant-Garde Dinner Fit for a Queen

EPISODE SUMMARY This month we bring you a very special guest curator edition of SpokenWeb’s Audio of the Month. In this minisode, Katherine McLeod is joined by SpokenWeb researcher and postdoctoral fellow Mathieu Aubin for a glimpse into the life and work of Canadian poet bill bissett – from poetic surveillance to an avant-garde dinner […]

ShortCuts 1.5

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May 18, 2020

Audio of the Month – Then and Now

EPISODE SUMMARY This month our SpokenWeb minisode features Canadian poet Daphne Marlatt reading “Lagoon” from Vancouver Poems (1972), a deeply local collection that she had not yet published when this reading took place at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia) in Montreal. When listening to Marlatt reading “Lagoon,” we can hear the many futures of […]

ShortCuts 1.4

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April 20, 2020

Audio of the Month – Dorothy Livesay listening to the radio

EPISODE SUMMARY In this Audio of the Month minisode Katherine Mcleod features recordings of poet Dorothy Livesay. We hear Livesay read selections of her work including “Bartok and the Geranium,” a poem that is often anthologized and, in fact, you may have studied it in a course on Canadian poetry. But do you know how […]

ShortCuts 1.3

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March 16, 2020

Audio of the Month – Where does the reading begin?

EPISODE SUMMARY This month our SpokenWeb minisode features Kaie Kellough reading at The Words and Music Show, Nov 20, 2016. As Kellough starts to introduce his reading, a pre-recorded voice slowly mixes with his live words. Where, then, does the introduction end, and where does the reading begin? EPISODE NOTES Each month on alternate fortnights […]

ShortCuts 1.2

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February 17, 2020

Audio of the Month – Improvising at a Poetry Reading

EPISODE SUMMARY As we come to the end of a holiday long weekend here in Canada, it’s time for a new episode of SpokenWeb’s Audio of The Month: ‘mini’ stories about how literature sounds. This month Katherine shares a recording of Canadian poet Maxine Gadd reading “Shore Animals” with improvised flute by Richard Sommer (1972). […]

ShortCuts 1.1

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January 20, 2020

Audio of the Month – Daryl Hine’s Point Grey

EPISODE SUMMARY Welcome to our first SpokenWeb minisode. Each month on alternate fortnights (that’s every second week following the monthly spokenweb podcast episode) – join Hannah McGregor, and minisode host and curator Katherine McLeod for SpokenWeb’s Audio of Month mini series. This month Katherine shares a recording of Canadian poet Daryl Hine reading “Point Grey” […]

ShortCuts Credits

Katherine McLeod (producer) researches archives, performance, and poetry. She has co-edited the collection CanLit Across Media: Unarchiving the Literary Event (with Jason Camlot, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019). She is writing a monograph (under contract with Wilfrid Laurier University Press) that is a feminist listening to recordings of women poets reading on CBC Radio. She is an affiliated researcher with SpokenWeb and she is the 2020-2021 Researcher-in-Residence at the Concordia University Library.

Manami Izawa (graphic design) is an undergraduate student at Concordia University, pursuing her passion for industrial design. She has professional experience in education and graphic design. Her goal is to help create a better user experience with her background in B.A. of Linguistics and her certificate of Pedagogy and Graphic Design.

Hannah McGregor (host) is an Assistant Professor of Publishing at Simon Fraser University, where her research focuses on podcasting as scholarly communication, systemic barriers to access in the Canadian publishing industry, and magazines as middlebrow media. She is the co-creator of Witch, Please, a feminist podcast on the Harry Potter world, and the creator of the podcast Secret Feminist Agenda. She is also the co-editor of the book Refuse: CanLit in Ruins (Book*hug 2018).

Stacey Copeland (supervising producer) oversees development and production of The Spokenweb Podcast. She is a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Ph.D. candidate in Communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. Her current research focuses on radio and podcasting, cultural sound studies, queer cultural history and gender studies.