Entre los cientos de archivos online que circulan por estos mundos virtuales estos días nos hemos topado con Poetry Archive, que como su nombre indica es un archivo de poesía. Hasta ahí no hay nada de especial que nos empuje a incluirlo en estas páginas, lo que lo convierte en una iniciativa singular es que no recopila poemas, sino archivos sonoros de los autores leyendo su obra.
Es una página británica y sólo incluye poetas de habla inglesa, pero se pueden encontrar las voces de muchos autores interesantes y muy conocidos: T. S. Elliot, Allen Ginsberg, Rudyard Kipling, Harold Pinter, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas, William Butler Yeats, etc. Aunque personalmente yo destacaría a Margaret Atwood, que quizás algunos conozcáis por su novela distópica El Cuento de la Doncella, y Roald Dahl, que se debatía entre cuentos infantiles e historias para adultos, pero siempre con su característica ironía y humor negro.
Poetry was an oral art form before it became textual. Homer’s work lived through the spoken word long before any markings were made on a page. Hearing a poet reading his or her work remains uniquely illuminating. It helps us to understand the work as well as helping us to enjoy it. When a poet dies without making a recording, a precious resource is lost for ever and as time goes by that loss is felt more and more keenly. What would we not give to be able to hear Keats and Byron reading their work? And, if recording had been possible in the early nineteenth century, how inexplicable it would seem now if no-one had recorded their voices. Yet in the twentieth century, when recording technology became universal, there was no systematic attempt to record all significant poets for posterity and even some major poets – Thomas Hardy and A. E. Housman (as far as we know. Please tell us if you have a recording of Hardy or Housman reading his poetry!), for example – died without having been recorded at all. The Poetry Archive has, therefore, been created to make sure that such omissions never happen again and that everyone has a chance to hear major poets reading their work.