Úr órum Tobba (From the Madness of Tobbi) by Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl

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Poem and reading by Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl

This is a sound-poem in homage to a 17th-century Icelandic nonsense poet called Æri-Tobbi, or Crazy Tobbi, whose poetry is discussed at length in a fascinating essay archived at Norðdahl’s blog: “Mind the Sound” (hat-tip: Poetry News).

The categorical difference between sound-poetry and instrumental-music (including sound-poetry’s cousin, scat-singing) is that the listener inevitably interprets what he or she hears as ‘language’ – not only is it the framework that the work is presented within, but it’s also inherent to much of the actual work, that it actually ‘resembles’ language. […]

In early 2008 I wrote the poem ‘Úr órum Tobba’, (trans. From the madness of Tobbi) a six-to-seven minute long sound-poem carved from Æri-Tobbi’s zaum. The poem was first performed at the Scream Poetry Festival in Toronto, at the Lexiconjury Revival Night, and has in fact not been performed since (although published on CD, along with more of my sound-poems).

‘Úr órum Tobba’ is at once a found poem and sound poem, collaged and cut-up lines of zaum taken from the quatrains, tercets and couplets of Æri-Tobbi – the first of the thirteen stanzas is written thus:

Axar sax og lævarar lax
Axar sax og lævarar lax
Hoppara boppara hoppara boppara
stagara jagara stagara jagara
Neglings steglings veglings steglings
Skögula gögula ögula skögula
hræfra flotið humra skotið
Axar sax og lævarar lax

Each stanza has eight lines, and all are intersected with two of Æri-Tobbi’s most famous zaum-lines:

Agara gagara agara gagara
vambara þambara vambara þambara

Poem for the Rivers Project by Tom Konyves

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Poem by Tom Konyves

Video by Alex Konyves

In a comment at the YouTube posting, Tom gives the background for the poem.

In the summer of 2003, my 18-year-old son Alexander was working for a “Rivers” project at the Surrey Art Gallery — he kept pestering me to submit a poem. I wrote a 13-line poem which we posited over Alex’s abstract water-related images, all sustained by the drone of an unrelenting Didjeridu. The poetic narrative is resolved by a verbo-visual pun on the underside of the Alex Fraser Bridge.

El lenguaje de las hormigas (The Language of Ants) by Fernando Sarría

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Poem by Fernando Sarría

Video by sonolopez (Javier López Clemente)

El lenguaje de las hormigas es húmedo, constante,
ligero pero lleno de matices y sabores.
Nada se determina de antemano,
reconocen las sendas claras y oscuras de la tierra,
de un cuerpo sonrosado y de un anhelo.
Su murmullo es la marca de su saliva,
la piel siempre deseándolas
y aunque cierren los oídos, las ventanas,
las puertas de la cama,
ellas, pacientes, sabrán esperar.

The Language by Robert Creeley

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Animation by Chad Edwards of a poem by Robert Creeley.

I Don’t Fix a Word by Donna Kuhn

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Experimental video poem by Donna Kuhn — “an exploration of grief, a tribute to a friend who is gone.”

Facing It by Yusef Komunyakaa

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Poem by Yusef Komunyakaa

Read by Michael Lythgoe for the Favorite Poem Project

“Methought I saw my late espoused Saint…” by John Milton

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Sonnet 23 by John Milton

Recited by Ian Richardson, from the 1984 TV series “Six Centuries of Verse,” directed by Richard Mervyn