New Vinyl-Only Poetry Press Transports Listeners to a Live Reading

Portland's Fonograf Editions releases "Alice Notley: Live in Seattle."

By Caroline Craighead

17880534_10154457953353045_5851427741574444414_o

September 8, 2017

This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Combining the nostalgia for vinyl records with the feeling of a live poetry reading, vinyl-only poetry press Fonograf Editions (based in Portland and Omaha) has found a unique niche.

“We live in such a fast-paced society that the act of putting a record on and just listening is a really different sensation,” says Jeff Alessandrelli, the director and publisher of Fonograf, who combined his two passions—poetry and record collecting—for the project.  

Launched in 2016, Fonograf has published recordings of acclaimed poets such as Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Eileen Myles reading from their works.

Its newest release, Alice Notley: Live in Seattle (September 8; $16.95; fonografeditions.com), features Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winner Alice Notley reading from her latest work, Certain Magical Acts, at McCaw Hall this past April as part of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Poetry Series.

While the recordings are mastered so that the sound is high quality, they still capture every aspect of a live reading, including mispronunciations, jumbled words and turning pages. Alessandrelli, a poet himself, says it’s this deliberate imperfection that makes them truly authentic.

“It really puts you inside the reading,” he says. 

 

Time warp: ‘Seattle’ magazine cover still relevant, more than five decades later

Rob Smith

Book excerpt: ‘Cotton Teeth’

Glenn Rockowitz

Seattle’s Inclusionary Future

Brenda Cooper