Andrew Joron and The Sound Mirror

Christopher Nelson’s Poetry Blog has an interview with Andrew Joron, “the metaphysician-elect of contemporary American poetry”, about his book The Sound Mirror.

Nelson: Your title, The Sound Mirror—can you elaborate on that synesthetic paradox? Or would that be to explain away the pleasant mystery?

Joron: In one sense, the idea of a “sound mirror” is not a paradox. Part of the science of acoustics is concerned with the way sound is reflected from surfaces such as the walls of a concert hall. And before the invention of radar, England constructed huge hemispherical “sound mirrors” out of concrete and placed them in open fields as listening devices that would amplify the sound of approaching bombers from Germany. In my case, I appropriated the title from an old Sun Ra LP, which has never been reissued on CD. Sun Ra himself got the title from the first commercially available recording device, released in the forties, which was called The Sound Mirror. But you’re right to note my intent to complicate the sound/light relation in presenting this title. Writing that uses the phonetic alphabet becomes a “sound mirror”; I want to emphasize that, while sound may be exiled from the written word, it continues to haunt the scene—the seen—of writing.

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