UC New Media Research Directory
Forrest, Seth
April 13th, 2007 under Grad Students, Uncategorized

Graduate Student, English Dept., UC Davis
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Seth ForrestSeth Forrest is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at the University of California, Davis where he teaches courses in literature and composition. His research interests cover: poetry and poetics from the British Romantics to the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writers; sound studies; modern and contemporary music; and media-assisted pedagogy. Seth’s dissertation engages new theories and methodologies of prosody by analyzing the poetry of Black Mountain writers Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, Paul Blackburn and Larry Eigner. To that end, his dissertation considers tape recordings, especially the collections of UCSD’s Archive for New Poetry and the PennSound archives, as primary audiotexts. The project locates the Black Mountain School in a crucial moment in the history of sound and in the history of sound technology. It explores the distinction between orality and aurality and theorizes new approaches to “old media” such as typewriters, portable tape recorders and mimeography and the role of technologies on poetic style. He is also working on a series of essays on recorded poetry, acousmatics and the notion of “secondary orality”.

Seth has taught numerous courses for the Department of English, from lower-division and advanced composition to a seminar on sound in American poetry. His courses frequently experiment with new media tools such as hypertext, collaborative wiki assignments and podcasts along with good old fashioned close reading.

Seth also writes poetry and makes sound collages from samples and field recordings. He is an active volunteer at KDVS, the freeform community radio station located on the UC Davis campus. When he is not working, he is playing outside with his two boys, Leo and Miles.

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Traditional prosody, with its focus on more or less metrical rhythm, in short, describes an abstraction of sound. In search of regular rhythm, prosody tends unavoidably to eliminate the other acoustic phenomena, the noisy din of phonology and morphology, multi-accentuality and of course silences. The noise of poetry is either ignored or partially recuperated as a relational component of the discursive, semantic content; this process of elimination and abstraction can be seen as suppression and / or normalization, in other words noise abatement.

As a noise abatement project, traditional or normative prosody emboldened a resistance. Strange bedfellows from Mallarme to Whitman to Pound, Gertrude Stein, Henri Chopin, Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Robert Grenier, bp Nichol, etc., etc., are linked by their exploration of the noise of language in the face of normalized rules set primarily to find and disseminate abstract and pre-approved rhythmic patterns.

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Computer scientists are starting to pay attention to both the impact of society on their work and the impact of their work on society. From the Transliteracies perspective, how then can technology affect and be affected by the application of reading?