Editing Modernism in Canada


October 21, 2015


phonotext.ca is a project initiated to develop an open access index of sound recordings related to Canadian poets and poetry. The function of the site is simple: to organize and provide details on sound recordings related to Canadian poetry and poetics; to document the specific format(s) and relevant bibliographic information for each recording; to list where recordings can be located and listened to; and to provide links to recordings that are digitally available. Additionally, phonotext.ca will host a digital library of writings focused on the intersections of sound, performance, poetry, and poetics in Canada. It situates these writings amid a vast repository of sounds.

The primary aim of this project is to aid listeners so they may access recorded materials, while emphasizing the importance of the sonic, performative, and medial aspects of poetic works. The expansive and detailed catalogue of poetry-related audio recordings will be searchable by the name of the poet, the format of recording, and the location and year in which it was produced. In combining digital and analogue recordings, phonotext.ca will assemble both a poetic and phonographic history. We intend for the site to be of interest to those involved in the sonic arts – poets, musicians, writers, teachers, researchers – and to curious listeners. The index will also serve as a tool to assist archivists and institutions in the circulation and preservation of materials always under the threat of being lost or discarded.

I have begun to work together with an editorial collective – comprised of Deanna Fong, Lee Hannigan, Shannon Maguire, and Eric Schmaltz – who will develop, add, and curate the site. Additionally, we have an advisory board – made up of Lillian Allen, Jason Camlot, Tanya Clement, Dean Irvine, Chris Mustazza, and Karis Shearer – who will assist guiding the project’s production. Sound artist and programmer Max Stein has been and continues to be instrumental in the design of the site. We have recently completed the back-end, as well as the database notational system for phonotext.ca. We are currently developing the front-end of the site, and plan to have an initial version launched in late 2016. In the meanwhile, we are building our database of materials for the site. We currently have gathered just over 2,000 phonographic entries for the index of sound materials, and hope to add an additional 4,000 entries by launch date.

If you would like to contact phonotext.ca, please email: phonotext.ca [at] gmail [dot] com.



Michael Nardone is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture at Concordia University, and is currently a PennSound visiting fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. He is managing editor the journal Amodern. In 2014-15, he received an Editing Modernism in Canada doctoral stipend to support the development of phonotext.ca.

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