The Poetry of Radio: The Colour of Sound, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Poetry of Radio

The Colour of Sound, 1st Edition

By Seán Street


146 pages

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This book explores the idea of the poetic in radio and sound as well as the concept of pure sound as poetry, both historically and within a contemporary perspective, examining examples of makers and works internationally. 

The work examines the development of poetic forms in sound broadcasting historically and geographically through chapters taking narrative themes. It includes primary source material gathered through interviews conducted by the author with distinguished producers and poets. Among these are producers Piers Plowright, Matt Thompson, Alan Hall, Simon Elmes and Julian May (UK) Edwin Brys, (Belgium) Hildegard Westerkamp (Germany/Canada) Chris Brookes (Canada) Robyn Ravlitch, Michael Ladd and Kaye Mortley (Australia) as well as poets, including Michael Symmons Roberts and Jeremy Hooker. There is a chapter on the poetic sound in the natural world, which focuses in particular on the work of the renowned UK sound recordist, Chris Watson.

Alongside audio poetry, the book discusses the spoken word including documentaries and public announcements, the radio feature, soundscapes, sonic art with contributions from key figures such as Colin Black (Australia) and Marcus Leadley (UK)and the poetry of the vernacular in speech and sound. It considers new platforms for listening including podcasts and developments in mobile technologies, examining the work of current practitioners including Francesca Panetta, who is responsible for The Guardian's podcasts as well as the award-winning Hackney Podcast, and Tim Wright.


'This book will be a lasting treasure for students, professionals and artists in the field of radio and sound programme making. It is a brilliant and masterful achievement.' - Tim Crook, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

'Should be the classic in its field.' - Michael Symmons Roberts, Poet, Radio Producer

'Beautifully written. For me this will remain an important reference book, a standard text to be returned to for authoritative advice.' - Paul Wilson, Curator, Radio, British Library Sound Archive

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Poets and the Interpretation of Sound 2. Early Radio 3. Stylised Reality: the Radio Feature 4. Radio Ballads 5. The Spoken Word: Documentary and More 6. Soundscapes 7. The Music of Nature: Location Recording 8. Pure Sound, Pure Poetry? The Composition of Radio Sound Conclusion

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies