Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Voice as Something MoreEssays toward Materiality$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Martha Feldman and Judith T. Zeitlin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226656397

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226656427.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 June 2022

It’s All by Someone Else

It’s All by Someone Else

Chapter:
(p.115) 5 It’s All by Someone Else
Source:
The Voice as Something More
Author(s):

Robert Polito

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226656427.003.0006

This chapter takes on the trope of the poet’s voice, via James Merrill’s monumental poem The Changing Light at Sandover, which incorporates large swaths of voices from beyond the grave, dictated to him through the Ouija board. The argument is that by channeling composite, occult voices, Merrill’s experiment results in a sustained dismantling of a lyric voice. Sandover makes manifest the language of possession, animism, and ventriloquism shadowing modern theoretical approaches to poetic voice: as something physical, given breath and sound by the poet or reader; as a metaphor for an author’s distinctive style; or as a reductionist cliché equivalent to the self. In so doing, Sandover confounds any normative grasp of the voice in modern poetry while substantiating the uncanny truths on which the chronic enigma of poetic voice depends.

Keywords:   poetic voice, James Merrill, The Changing Light at Sandover, Maya Deren, Ouija board, ventriloquism

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.