Fierce fighting in substantial numbers: ships damaged

Nov 10, 2021, 03:03 PM

"In this story from the BBC World Service, news of the British invasion of the Falkland Islands begins with, as is customary, an announcement of the fighting and loss of ships and other large equipment.  Only after this cataloging does the story move to the loss of human lives, both potential and actual.  

While this does place the loss of ships and helicopters--literally--before the human cost of the invasion, I reread this news story as working in the way that a sonnet can, even if that wasn't the BBC's original intent.  One form of the sonnet builds an argument in its first eight lines, then a shift occurs in the argument in the remaining six.  The initial argument can be reversed in the volta or the turn in the latter section of the poem.

Thus, I distilled the language of the news story into a sonnet.   The loss of equipment sets up the tragedy of the lost lives, the heavier cost of war.  I wanted to turn the idea of privileging metal over men as the news story seems to do into one that concludes something quite different. 

For the recording of my text, I left in artefacts of breath and pauses to mirror those of the news reader in the broadcast.  I also distorted my voice and laid the static and pops of the received transmission over the poem, as I wanted my voice to be both of the language of the news story and of its reception over shortwave radio."

Composition by T.D. Walker.

Part of the Shortwave Transmissions project, documenting and reimagining the sounds of shortwave radio - find out more and see the whole project at