Voix off. La voix du poète. Voiceover. The poet’s voice. Voix hors de champs. A voice out of field. She or I, both exterior to the scene (the scene of the poem?) Or of its reading. She was a person I did not see (I saw the poet). She was a person I did not hear (I heard the poet). She was a personage who animated the scene of reading. The scene of reading or the scene of the poem was hers, but it became mine as she read. Words were drawn out, accented (spoken with an accent, and she could be Gee or Jay, depending on the language of my thought, and if the latter, then I was translating, but in any case, as the poet she did not have a name at the instant of the poem’s transmission). Beginning, she said, straight through to the end. She was speaking of the patterns of ideas or designs. There were gales, her voice explained. These were repetitions, these were motifs. Stress fell differently; these were matters of pitch and rhythm. The voice gave texture, sometimes sparse, sometimes dense. There were intervals, minute pauses. Smooth voice, silky. Nasal voice or flat, lower in pitch. Warm voice, and breathy, the airflow. Often, she gave words to those who had none or were unheard. These were living voices or voices that lived in hers. They shouted at the top of their lungs, tongues lolling. Sometimes the words were objects, baby bones and milk teeth, voix-objets. They were edge-like, structure de bord, figurative, indirect, material borne by the voice. Vive voix – where the authority of writing lies in its being a faithful copy of what is said. Verba volant, scripta manent – the word flies away as what is written remains. Yet the voice stayed, flesh, blood, and bone, and a phantom.
[Sharon Kivland is an artist and writer. Her work considers what is put at stake by art, politics, and psychoanalysis. She is currently working on the natural form, fables, and the furies. She has been called a poet, to her surprise. She is also an editor and publisher, the latter under the imprint MA BIBLIOTHÈQUE. Her novel Abécédaire was published by Moist Books in July 2022, and now she is writing a new book, entitled Almanach.]
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