e-poets network | Book of Voices


about the Book of Voices

The Book of Voices is e-poets' living gallery of literature in text and spoken word. The poets' voices give this literary collection context: the senses of place and identity from artists throughout e-poets' community. Most importantly, it promotes "aural literacy", as the spoken language communicates what the printed word may not. Poetry in the human voice promotes social awareness. The careful listener will not merely be "well-read" at the artist- or publication-level, but will hear the voices of cultures, too.

We take pride in presenting distinctive, original poetry often heard online here for the very first time. We support this literature durably. The stable and free web pages encourage reference, study, and listening for the basic pleasure of poetry.

This was never a sound-byte enterprise. The Book of Voices began as a way to share some of the recordings our poetry videoconferences held in Chicago. I undertook the videoconferences as early as 1991, and began publishing audio online in 1998. As the e-poets network grew, so did this collection, to the point where the collection acquired a life of its own. The dialogue among the early contributors spanned most of the English-language world and significant parts of the rest, from the USA, Canada, and Wales... to mainland Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. The collection is cosmopolitan, and we like it that way.

Like literary anthropologists, I've sought the poetry where it lives, and have brought the voices of poets back home, to share with you on the web. We also create studio recordings just for the purpose of presenting the poetry here, independent of any videoconferences.

The Book of Voices takes online poetry beyond the sound-byte threshold, allowing readers to dig into spoken literature in a direct and personal way, to understand the art in depth. We encourage study beyond the content we present here, as many of our contributors are published. We embrace print and performance with ecumenical balance. Whether it's page or stage, town or gown, it's all one body of literature to us.

If you have questions about the Book of Voices, please contact me through the "Founder" link, below.

- Kurt Heintz, founder, e-poets network