Reflections on the “New England” Episode

December 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Much of Susan Howe’s writing over the years has dealt with erasure and silencing. It’s often the words of the silenced voice that we’re reading in her poems. Strange, then, or fitting, that all my attempts at using my own self-recordings to introduce and recap music at various points throughout the episode were silenced and erased. When the podcast was finally stitched together, all of the passages, save one, that should have included my voice were silent. To make matters more interesting, the one snippet that wasn’t completely gone was severely shortened, and the remaining few seconds were altered so that words that should have followed other words actually came before. My first thought was that I would have to re-record all the spots that were gone, but then I realized that this is how it should be.  It was like a Burroughsian cut-up, but really, when added to the phenomenon of the overall erasure, more like something Susan Howe would have done.

She was my teacher 20 years ago, and I believe now as I believed then, that she is a poet of such power as to be able to alter texts just by being present in them.


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