Sound & Syntax International Festival of Sound Poetry (1978)
Sound & Syntax International Festival of Sound Poetry (1978), CCA Glasgow - Jeremy Adler, Steve McCaffery, Bob Cobbing
From Syntax International Festival of Sound Poetry (1978)

Performances by Jeremy Adley and Steve McCaffery of their poetry. Begins with Adler taking the stage and reading a ‘Particle Poem for a Lady Rhyming on a Postcard’ - a series of conjunctives and pauses without meaning, followed by 3 semantic poems of fairly similar form. Adler then invites Bob Cobbing to perform a sound poem with him, after which Adler does a whispered, breathy sound poem into the microphone with specific words inaudible. At this point (about 7 minutes in) Bob Cobbing, B.P. Nichol and Steve McCaffery join Adler for a 4-voice piece employing ululating, abstract vocal and non-vocal noises. At 10 minutes the tape cuts to McCaffery, who begins his section with a ‘found-sound poem’ based on a Babylonian Cuneiform text, going from unrecognisable sounds to regular speech at the end. After this he performs ‘The Precepts’ where he reads alternately from two separate sheets, one with a list of infinitive verbs, the other a list of definite nouns (eg. to [verb] the [noun]). Further performances follow, including ‘Anti-Face’ where he holds a sheet of paper up against his face, draws on it, makes sobbing sounds, eventually bites through the paper, drops it and finishes laughing maniacally. ‘Contributions to Futility’ consists of McCaffery performing various actions including rolling dice, turning the key on a music-box, hitting the floor with a hammer, sawing a piece of wood and speaking fragments of sound poetry. A couple more pieces follow, including one where he adds Italian suffixes to English words, before the tape is cut off whilst he introduced his last piece. The image quality is patchy, the camera work relatively static with a few pans and zooms.

Jeremy Adler is a concrete poet and Professor of German at King’s College London. He has published a catalogue of visual poetry, Text als Figur (1990) with Ulrich Ernst and his PhD was on the chemistry of Goethe’s Elective Affinities.

Born in England, Steve McCaffery moved to Toronto in 1968 and became a member of the sound-poetry group, The Four Horsemen, with Rafael Barreto-Rivera, Paul Dutton, and B.P. Nichol. His essay, Sound Poetry - A Survey (1978) is available at here;

Steve McCaffery in UbuWeb Sound
Bob Cobbing in UbuWeb Sound
Bob Cobbing in UbuWeb Film
Four Horsemen in UbuWeb Sound
Peter Jaeger -- "Steve McCaffery's Visual Errata" in UbuWeb Papers
Steve McCaffery -- "Sound Poetry: A Survey" in UbuWeb Papers