Kate Potts

The Blown Definitions
Towards a Poetics of the Dramatic Radio Poem
12 February @ 6.00pm

Kate Potts

The dramatic radio poem foregrounds sound-sense, musicality, and the less ‘rational’ and translatable aspects of language. This, in combination with its public and collective nature, makes dramatic radio poetry an intriguing and challenging form for the poet. My thesis examines the case for a specific and definable poetics of the dramatic radio poem through critical analysis and creative practice. My creative and critical work demonstrates the ways in which the dramatic radio poem’s poetics is structured through its response to the medium and circumstances of radio broadcast: disembodied, evanescent voices experienced simultaneously in time and across delimited space. Drawing on the theories of Walter Ong, Julia Kristeva and Adriana Cavarero, my work investigates major preoccupations of the dramatic radio poem: the interaction of utilitarian and ‘poetic’ language modes, the function of ‘non-representational’ signs in creating, referencing and reinforcing cultures in common, and the utopian and dystopian implications of radio broadcast technologies.

This presentation considers the development of dramatic radio poetry in the 1930s and 1940s, focusing in particular on Ezra Pound’s radio operas and on the radio work of the French surrealist poet Robert Desnos. Dramatic radio poetry’s possibilities and constraints will be further explored through the presentation of extracts from my creative work in progress.

Brief Bio
Kate Potts’ debut full-length poetry collection is Pure Hustle (Bloodaxe). Her pamphlet Whichever Music was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award. Her poems have featured in a variety of magazines and anthologies – most recently The Best British Poetry 2013 (Salt). Kate teaches creative writing for Morley College and Oxford University’s Continuing Education department, and is working towards a PhD on dramatic radio poetry. She is co-organiser of the site-specific poetry event series Somewhere in Particular.


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