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SAN FRANCISCO — The melodic voice of Marianne Moore echoed from a reel-to-reel tape recorder at the American Poetry Archives here on a recent morning. She was reading her poems to an enthusiastic audience in 1957, and the tape offered delights quite different from those that come from reading a printed page.
Before reciting a poem called „Light Is Speech“ Moore explained that it was inspired by a legend about a bandit and a bag of gold. She thanked her audience for applause that was „very gratifying, consoling,“ and then told about an argument she had with Richard Wilbur over the use of hyphens in poetry. Several times she interrupted her reading to try out different words or phrases, explaining at one point, „I’m rewriting this as I read it.“
In the poem Moore asserted:

Impartial sunlight, moonlight

Starlight, lighthouse light,
Are language.

As the tape wound on, the archives manager, Jiri Veskrna, hovered nearby, watching a computer screen. He was turning the Moore reading into a digital recording, since the tape on which it was originally recorded was starting to disintegrate. / NYT *) 16.5.02

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