Skip to content

Unabweisbare Freiheit – Zur Entwicklung von Sinn beim Hören von Gedichten

Anja Utler

Pages 57 - 87

This article presents some of the fi ndings of a research project on spoken contemporary poetry in Slavic languages and German at the University of Regensburg. During the project, students attended (mostly live) readings of poets with a range of native languages. After the readings, they were asked to record their impressions in a questionnaire. Their statements show that sense emerges in a process of constant fl ux between involuntary responses to the qualities of the human voice and to poetic imagery and as a more deliberate and detached construction of syntactico-semantic meanings. Reactions oscillate between gestures of distancing, produced to keep the complex personal meaning of the poem at bay, and statements that give the speaker the authority to produce precisely this kind of poetic-personal meaning in listeners. Listeners’ impression of having heard something meaningful seems to form independently of actual linguistic understanding: in several instances, the respondents claimed to have already gained clear semantic ideas about poems’ contents while listening to them in a language they did not understand. The article explores how a translated poem’s semantic content is unable to eliminate listeners’ ideas that have already been formed by the sounds of voice and breathing, and shows to what extent a vocal performance’s traits, identifi able by analysis, and the listeners’ spontaneous sense-making processes converge.


Export Citation