Chris Mustazza’s work centers on the poetry audio archive and digital analyses of sound recordings of poets reading their own work. His current book manuscript, tentatively titled Speech Labs: Language Experiments, Early Poetry Audio Archives, and the Poetic Record, is the first history of the poetry audio archive, detailing how poets’ voices came be to collected, valued, and defined during the early period of sound recording. This project includes his work to digitize and contextualize the first collection of poetry recordings in the U.S., The Speech Lab Recordings. As part of this work, he has edited the earliest recordings of Robert Frost, James Weldon Johnson, and Gertrude Stein (among others).
Mustazza also designs digital tools for analyzing the performance of poetry, working at the intersection of literary studies and linguistics methodologies. His concept of Machine-Aided Close Listening is described in Digital Humanities Quarterly and has been discussed in reference to the history computational approaches to prosody. He is interested in tools that can provide new opportunities for close listening, as well as machine-listening and artificial intelligence approaches to the analysis of audio corpora.
He is the Co-Director of the PennSound archive, alongside Al Filreis and Charles Bernstein, as well as director of computing for the academic departments and research centers in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences. During the academic year 2019-2020, he is a Research Fellow at the Linguistics Data Consortium, working on a second book-length project titled Doin’ Voices: Modern Poetry’s Sonic Genres.