© 2019

Sound at the Edge of Perception

The Aural Minutiae of Sand and other Worldly Murmurings


  • Provides a novel, philosophical perspective of sound, concerned with the emotional effect of 'moments of sound', and our potential to develop deeper responses to these events

  • Offers an engaging narrative style told from perspective of a poet, an academic and a radio practitioner

  • Explores the significance lying in the often-missed sounds of life, and attempts to champion an attentiveness to them

  • Deconstructs the world's orchestra, uncovering the subtleties that lie almost concealed in the sound work of which we are a part

  • Based principally on the author's own reflections drawn from a lifetime of gathering and listening to and for sounds in documentaries and features, and attempting to translate the world into words in poetry


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Sound book series (PASTS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Seán Street
    Pages 21-41
  3. Seán Street
    Pages 43-62
  4. Seán Street
    Pages 87-105
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 127-138

About this book


This book is about the tiny sounds of the world, and listening to them, the minute signals that are clues to who and where we are. A very small sound, given the context of its history, becomes hugely significant, and even an imagined sound in a picture becomes almost a voice. By speaking a name, we give a person back to the world, and a breath, a sigh, a laugh or a cry need no language. A phoneme is the start of all stories, and were we able to tune ourselves to the subtleties of the natural world, we might share the super-sensitivity of members of the bird and animal kingdom to sense the message in the apparent silence. Mind hears sound when it perceives an image; the book will appeal to sonic and radio practitioners, students of sound, those working in the visual arts, and creative writers.


sound poetics philosophy of sound sensory studies sound studies sonic signals

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Media and CommunicationBournemouth UniversityPooleUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Seán Street is Emeritus Professor of Radio at Bournemouth University, UK. Previous books include The Poetry of Radio, The Memory of Sound and Sound Poetics. As a poet, he has published nine collections, the most recent being Camera Obscura, and has edited an anthology of poems about radio, entitled Radio Waves.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Sound at the Edge of Perception
  • Book Subtitle The Aural Minutiae of Sand and other Worldly Murmurings
  • Authors Seán Street
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Sound
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Sound
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-981-13-1612-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-981-13-4654-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-981-13-1613-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 138
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Science and Technology Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Sound at the Edge of Perception explores the ‘interrelationships between hearing and listening, looking and seeing,’ with the hope that ‘by awakening the faculty of seeing, we may enhance our ability to listen—and vice versa.’” (Ben Monks, Dymock Poets and Friends, Issue 18, 2019)