Voice and Technology: A Brief Meditation

Vocal communication is one of the most ancient modes of technology still utilized in modern times. It is the mode by which we first learn to persuade others to see our point of view and call them to act, and it still holds great power and rhetorical value today. More than engaging the intellect through well-chosen words, the voice is the body’s singular channel for connecting with others and conveying emotional meaning through intonation, stressed syllables, meter, rhyme, and volume. Poetry, with its attention to sound and sensuous appeal, naturally evolved from the human need to remember and convey oral histories. Combining the technology of written expression with the oral tradition of story-telling, poetry expands the limits of language to engage the listener’s soul. We can say, then, that poetry is a technology older than the iPad, the laptop or the analog phone. Older still than cave-dwelling drawings or the written word; older even perhaps than prose.

While poetry continues to evolve in response to new theories on form and function and even in response to historical upheaval that would require it to conform, it still resists and overcomes language barriers, gender perception, and political influence. Read or spoken aloud, poetry continues to be one of the most effective means of conveying emotional truth today.

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