Blog Article #2- what the heck is a sound poem

By CHRIS MARKHAM

For my second blog post, I stumbled upon a collection of sound poems by Joerg Piringer. The weird thing about these to me, was the fact that none of them had any words, just letters that would act accordingly to the theme of the poem and make sounds as it interacts with its surroundings. 

The first in the collection is titled “gravity and reflection.” In this one, you are given a blank square and all you do is click anywhere in the square and a letter, either m, f, t l, k, a, or r appears and drops to the bottom, either sinking through the floor or continuing to ricochet around the box until it’s “time is up,” I guess. I couldn’t find a pattern to the appearance of the letters or the duration of their time in the box. When a letter made contact with a border, it would make either make a fizzle sound (when it leaves the bottom) a bounce sound (when it hits a side wall) or a sound your computer you make when you do something you shouldn’t, that “NOPE” tone (when it hits the bottom but doesn’t sink. Definitely fun to play around with.

Next is “predator vs. prey.” In this one, the letters A, E, I, U, M, R, and S are evenly spaced along the top of a square white box. By clicking on a letter, that letter would begin moving around the square. Each letter moved in different ways, speeds, patterns. Some letters acted as predators, moving in quicker more aggressive ways while other letters were the prey. When two letters collided, a screech-y sound would be made and the letters would disappear. As the letters move around, they also make softer, consistent sounds, almost like they’re sniffing around.

The last one was “food chain,” where the letters Z, K, T, P and X weave around the box aimlessly and I have the option of clicking around and leaving accent marked letters around for the letters to “eat.” In this, only sound was made when the letters ate a “food.”

I honestly have no idea what to think of this “sound poetry.” I think it’s a very interesting idea with a lot of potential avenues, but in these cases, it was hard for me to find a story that went along with these poems. Maybe that wasn’t the goal of the work, which in that case, I succeeded. But if there were supposed to be patterns, I couldn’t pick up on any. However, the life that was given to the letters as they moved around was very cool and the sounds were very voice-giving or life-giving. It was cool to play around with and interact with. I definitely recommend  giving it a try here.

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