Ken Cormier
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AUTO COMPOSITIONS

These six poems were composed by spontaneously reciting lines into a handheld cassette tape recorder while driving a car. With the recorder paused, the poet conceives of a short line, then switches to record mode and recites the line, then pauses the machine and conceives of the next line, and so on. The pause button is crucial since it enables the poet to be both spontaneous and intentional. The poet's attention is also divided between composing and driving, so the mind is less likely to get hung up on a line or to over-think a phrase. Furthermore, the moving car provides a sense of privacy in a frenetic and ever-changing setting, which allows the poet to be relatively uninhibited and to speak (or scream) in full voice. While these poems were not recorded using a multitrack machine, their force derives from a multitrack soundscape: for example, the glitch of the pause button dividing the lines, the external sounds of the road interjecting themselves into the poems, and the tape hiss supplying a kind of lo-tech ambient backdrop.

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