Audio Archives


Person Describing Archive

Celyn Harding Jones (2010) ; Chelsea Obodoechina (2020)

Is this primarily a poetry audio site?


Sponsoring Person or Institution

The Academy of American Poets

Site URL

Site Last Updated
Date Visited


General Description of Archive

Funded and run by the American Academy of Poets, this site is dedicated to sharing poems, information about poets and "Supporting poets in every stage of their career". Poems do not always have audio file, sometimes they are read by other poets. Audio recordings do not always have the text of the poem. Search options are incredible and there are tons of ways to discover new poems and poets. "Spotlights" of poets and articles are featured on the home page, as well as weekly "Features" of one poet. Links are organized under "Poets and Poetry", "Poetry Store" (support and buy from AAP), "About Us", "Poetry Near You" (events happening across the U.S.) and "For Educators" (Resources, Lesson plans, Student Magazines, Teacher Discussion Forums).

Description of archive history or URL

Beginning with the first reading by John Berryman's "The Dream Songs" in 1963, the American Academy has recorded and archived each one of its live poetry readings and other events. Titled "The Poetry Audio Archive", spans over 40 years, with more than 775 recordings, it has been called one of the world's largest and most comprehensive aural literary archives. More than 400 of these audio clips have been available for free on Recordings are edited and mastered using Logic Studio, SoundSoap Pro and Wavelab 6. Website copyrighted since 1997.

Contact information

The Academy of American Poets, 584 Broadway, Suite 604, New York, NY 10012-5243.

Searchable options

Last name, poem name, are provided on the home site (and remain in a sidebar as you browse throughout the site) keyword, movement, theme, form are available in an advanced search, as well as browsing by: poem title, first line, poems by author's last name, poets by last name, prose by author's last name, prose by title. Also, you can search Audio and Video separately, Poems by Occasion, Essays and Interviews, and browse Notebooks.

Relation from the audio to the text

audio plays in the top part of the screen. Below, the poem is shown in text. Great format because they are on one screen and you can easily listen and follow along in the poem.

Date/Time/Length/Context info about the audio items

When associated with an audio recording of the poem, date, place and location of where the file is stored (eg. Academy Audio Archive).

Author bios and context within literary history

First publication of the poem (Title of collection, date) and a very short explanation "About" the poem is given-- but not in every instance. In a sidebar, information "About the Author" is sometimes provided, leads to another screen with Bio and selected Bibliography.

Audio file type: streaming, download, file format, audio file compression quality (WAV, MP3, bitrate)

MP3, using flash software, streamed. Not downloadable, however they sell CD's of some of their recordings.

Multimedia integration (pictures, video, etc.)

Photos are integrated everywhere on the site (photos of the authors, handwritten texts, images, icons, etc). Videos of interviews with poets are featured, some from YouTube, some from, etc. Sometimes they are transcribed, but often have a description of the context Mobile poetry: Poems sent to your phone.

Audio playback setup (opens in Flash player, on new blank screen, etc.)

Macromedia Flash Player has a Play/Pause/Stop Bar at the top of the screen, underneath the title and author, below which the text or poem is written.

Mobile access (i.e. accessible on smart phones, tablets, etc.)



UPDATE (Chelsea Obodoechina): Mobile access is possible, but the website does not cater to mobile devices. Functionality may vary depending on the device.


There is a lot on this site, and the many ways to search will help you to find what you are looking for. There are always two sidebars on the left side of the screen that allow you to search, as well as providing you with a random list of other poems and poets.

Discovery features (pre-made playlists; dynamic lists: lists of recent additions, featured items, related items, etc).
Interactivity and Web 2.0 features

"Notebooks" are a place for you to gather and share content. Log-in, browse site, click "add to notebook", (can add poems, poet profiles, interviews, etc) and then you can share them with other users. Basically it's like making your own Anthology: titled, synopsis, list of poems and poets. There is also the possibility for you to connect with social networking resources (facebook, twitter, stumble, digg, rss feeds, flickr).

Other notes

Information about when these recordings took place (if they were part of a series, a reading, etc) are not available, so more in-depth research falls flat. This site is most likely pitched to readers, rather than academics, as the site promotes enjoyment of the poem, and provides only basic information about the author, leaving the researcher unable to go much further with their research on this site alone.