Jayne Fenton Keane’s “The Stalking Tongue” is a collection of poetic works recorded by Jayne herself, which incorporates overdubbing of her voice, as well as eclectic, dissonant, and cacophonic noises and drum beats. The synthesizers and random drum beats set an ominous tone against Jayne’s often monotone readings. She uses repetition, she lengthens certain words and phrases as well as the use of overdubbing and mixing her voice to get her point across. Although Jayne uses digital computer recording aspects to create texture in her sound quality and voice, the overall effect of the MP3s are quite minimalist and scarce to the listener.
Jayne’s audio poetry is coarse with topics such as alienation, technology and sexuality. For example, on one track, her “Postcards from the Edge”, Keane speaks of random strangers walking on the street in a daze. Her characters are lost, confused and alone. The first character described, a man, is characterized as having a “dull metal iris”. The second lady, called “2” is found reading a wall each day. Her narrative characters seem to reflect those of us in modern societies who are also seen as lost or abandoned through commercial streets and our ever-growing digital societies.
Similarly in this poem, Keane reads the lines, “Save the planet, save the homeless, save the koalas, save the trees, feed the starving, we are the world. Save the dolphins, save the whales, save the oceans, protect the children. Save him, save her, save me.” This stanza seems to encompass all that Keane is trying to get across – our society, our planet, our humanity needs a saviour - perhaps from our own wreckage, yet not one of us are willing to stand up and begin the world’s salvation.
Natalie Wolfe was a student of Dr. Kiki Benzon for a course in Contemporary Fiction taught at the University of Lethbridge, Canada during the Winter term of 2011.