Thomas Rabies

Thomas Rabies > Spoken Word Artist

Thomas Rabies, a nonsense poet in the style of James Joyce, performs sound poetry and literary nonsense as a podcast-only, drawing inspiration from Hausmann, Blonk & Ratkje. His avant-garde works prioritize sonic exploration over conventional narratives, employing growls, shrieks, and invented glossolalia to create an abstract sound tapestry. Rabies values the sensory experience of language, aiming to rediscover words as primal vocal expressions and challenging conventional speech norms. His intense performances celebrate poetic freedom through unrestrained phonetic creativity.

​Thomas Rabies, the literary psuedonym of Andrew Backhouse, is an avant-garde poet working in the tradition of sound poetry and literary nonsense. His works are heavily influenced by the playful, invented language of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, as well as the vocal experimentation and extended techniques of sound poets like Jaap Blonk and Maje Ratkje.

Rabies’ poems eschew conventional meaning and linear narrative in favor of pure sonic exploration. His performances are intense, physical affairs, full of growls, shrieks, tongue-twisters and made-up glossolalia. The words tumble out in a rush of unrestrained phonetic invention, creating an abstract tapestry of pure sound and rhythm.

For Rabies, sense is secondary to the pure pleasure of shaping breath into strange new utterances. His poems are less about communicating ideas than experiencing language as a visceral, embodied phenomenon. By stripping words of their semantic meaning, he hopes to return them to their primal essence as raw vocal vibrations.

Rabies sees his work as a form of rebelling against the constraints and conventions of ordinary speech and writing. His nonsensical texts are a way to unleash the repressed energies of the voice, to move beyond the known into realms of uncharted linguistic possibility. Though his works may seem impenetrable, for Rabies they represent the highest form of poetic liberation.

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