While the context of a reading can often mean everything, there is also something to be said for readings ripped free from their spatial/temporal trappings and escorted into the private, headphoned world.
A few examples of Choose-Your-Own-Context:
A friend has been walking the few miles to work everyday, just long enough to listen to a lecture by Philip Whalen, downloaded from the Naropa files on the Internet Archive site.
Another friend has made a muxtape from his own stock of mp3’s, most of which were culled from the UBU site, or the Penn Sound site--where you can find readings by the recently discussed Robert Duncan, among many others.
This friend, Eric Baus, has his own website, To The Sound, where he discusses the cellphone relay method of widening the poetry audience, especially useful at the sparsely attended readings.
Eric also links to Steve Evans’ intermittently updated site, Lipstick of Noise--where you can read about the intriguing context of Ericka Huggins’ poem “For a Woman”-- and the Slought Archive-- where you can listen to a little Denise Levertov.
Additional voices welcome in the comments, including most definitely anyone else's poetry muxtape.
Travis Nichols is the author of two books of poetry: Iowa (2010, Letter Machine Editions) and See Me Improving (2010); and he is the author of two novels: Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder (2012) and The More You Ignore Me (2013). He has contributed to The Believer, Paste, The...