Colin Partch is a poet from Pacific Grove, California. He is a dual-degree candidate at California College of the Arts pursuing an MFA in Writing and an MA in Visual & Critical Studies. He got his BA in English from Sonoma State University, where he studied on 20th Century American poetry and poetics, as well as creative writing under the mentorship of the poet Gillian Conoley.
His interests include poetry and poetics, archival and recovery projects, semiotics, linguistics, and urban development. He is currently working on a project out of the Bancroft Library to recover the prolific and varied work of novelist, playwright, city planner, and conlanger James Keilty. He lives in Berkeley.
Aberrant Voices: Stuttering, Orality, and the Performance of Self
Stuttering manifests itself in millions of people worldwide, yet most stutterers are judged according to fictitious representations of stuttering rather than their actual speech. Further, speech fluency, the speaking style that stutterers are demanded to adopt, is similarly constructed. Caught between two fictions, stutterers find themselves in an impossible situation where their own speech acts as an indictment against them.
Samuel Beckett’s minimalist play Not I (1972), offers a critical viewpoint onto the nature of dialogue by revealing the theatricality of speech. The play features a disembodied mouth hovering within a blacked out the theater space, producing an atmosphere of sensory deprivation, causing the audience to experience drama from the midst of the action.
In doing so, a new sense of drama emerges, one that disallows removal, even spectatorship in the traditional sense, where the assumed passivity of hearing is called directly into question. Similar to the stutterer, Mouth rears against the idealized norms of speech, informing us that the body is not a transparent vehicle for language but a site of interference.