Skip links

Jaap Blonk performing
Dutch sound poet Jaap Blonk in performance. Photo by Etang Chen.

Sound Poetry: The Wages of Syntax

The major event of our season will be Other Minds Festival 23 (performances April 9-14, 2018), devoted to text-sound compositional work utilizing “speech” as a musical medium–text, isolated phonemes, and other vocal utterances as sound material and structural elements. Much of this repertoire also involves aspects of electronic manipulation in live performance. Works by Amy X Neuburg, Pamela Z, Clark Coolidge, Alvin Curran, Anne Waldman, Sheila Davies Sumner, Susan Stone, and Mark Applebaum will receive their OM debuts. OM will also present Austrian-born American composer Ernst Toch’s complete Gesprochene Musik (including its two rediscovered “lost” movements which accompany the better known “Geographical Fugue”), Kurt Schwitters’ notorious Ursonate (“Primeval Sonata”), and Virgil Thomson/Gertrude Stein’s delightful Capital Capitals.

We’re inviting back to San Francisco some of the superstars — Anne Waldman, Clark Coolidge, Michael McClure and others — and we’re bringing Enzo Minarelli from Italy, Jaap Blonk from Holland, Sten Sandell from Sweden, Tone Åse and Ottar Ormstad from Norway, and Taras Mashtalir from Russia by way of New York to make a joyful noise for all to celebrate. We’ll also pay tribute to departed masters, with rare performances of Bernard Heidsieck’s La Poinçonneuse and Åke Hodell’s presciently political classic Mr. Smith in Rhodesia.

Festival Schedule

Monday, April 9 – Saturday, April 14, 2018 (General: $150, Students: $100)

Purchase a Festival Package for access to all events, including the workshop.

Monday, April 9 at 7:30pm (General: $50, Students: $40)

Artists: Anne Waldman, with Karen Stackpole, gongs; Clark Coolidge, with Alvin Curran keyboards and electronics; Michael McClure; Aram Saroyan; Jaap Blonk; Enzo Minarelli.

Tuesday, April 10 2018, at 3:00pm (Free)

Lecture on the history of sound poetry by Italian sound poet Enzo Minarelli.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 7:00pm (General: $15, Students: $5)
Workshop/demonstration of sound poetry techniques by Dutch artist Jaap Blonk.

Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30pm (General: $30, Student/Senior: $15)

Work by: Kurt Schwitters; Filippo Marinetti; Fortunato Depero; Gertrude Stein & Virgil Thomson; Ernst Toch; Lawrence Weschler; Cathy Berberian; Bernard Heidsieck. Performed by: Jaap Blonk; Enzo Minarelli; Randall Wong; Sarah Cahill; The Other Minds Ensemble.

Thursday, April 12 at 7:30pm (General: $30, Student/Senior: $15)

Works on tape: Sten Hanson; Lily Greenham; Åke Hodell. Performances: OTTARAS (Ottar Ormstad & Taras Mashtalir); Tone Åse, & Sten Sandell.

Friday, April 13 at 7:30pm (General: $30, Student/Senior: $15)

Works on tape: Mark Applebaum. Performances: Enzo Minarelli; Amy X Neuburg; Charles Amirkhanian & Carol Law.

Saturday, April 14 at 7:30pm (General: $30, Student/Senior: $15)

Works on tape: Susan Stone; Sheila Davies Sumner. Performances: Jaap Blonk; Beth Anderson, with Michael Jones, percussion; Pamela Z.

Media: Seminal Sound Poetry

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti
Zang Tumb Tumb

Kurt Schwitters

Gertrude Stein
If I Had Told Him a Completed Portrait of Picasso

Media: Selected Performers

Jaap Blonk

Anne Waldman
Worrying Yr Logos: Conversant You Speak to the Dead

Michael McClure
Night Words

Pamela Z

Amy X Neuburg

Enzo Minarelli

Media: Sound Poetry Audio Clips

In this recording, taken from a broadcast in the Bay Area on KPFA in 1976, Charles Amirkhanian traces developments in 20th Century text-sound composition. He includes recorded examples by such historical figures as Kurt Schwitters, Raoul Hausmann, Ernst Toch, Gertrude Stein, Mauricio Lemaître, François Dufresne, and Henri Chopin. More modern examples of American work follows.

Lily Greenham (1924-2001)was a pioneer in the performance of concrete poetry, as well as a composer of electro-acoustic music and a visual artist. Dubbed from a tape a KPFA broadcast from 1973. From the collection of Charles Amirkhanian. Read by the poet.

Start typing and press Enter to search