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Gorilla Books

Mishearing by David Musgrave & AfterLife by Kathryn Lomer

March 2024, no. 462

Mishearing, David Musgrave’s latest, most experimental poetry collection, arose from deliberately generated ‘mishearings’ of poems he read into Microsoft Word’s 2003 in-built speech recognition software. The software was by default ‘trained’ to a North American accent. Musgrave didn’t reprogram to an Australian accent, held the microphone at changing distances from his mouth, occasionally smothered it, and introduced ambient noise to heighten the software’s mistranscription. He read from the work of various poets, ranging from Dorothea Mackellar to Seamus Heaney, and an extract from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Making multiple readings of the same poem, Musgrave grabbed selected line transcriptions to construct each ‘misheard’ poem.

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