This dissertation consists of two distinct elements, one critical and the other creative. The critical element, "Chapter One: The Library of Congress Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature, 1941-1961," situates the Library of Congress poetry-recording project in the context of Cold War attempts to create and project a robust American literary culture. The author examines the historical relationship between the audiotext archive and the literary canon, the role of authorial performance in audiotext production, and the significance of the archival and testimonial process of recording poets reading their own work. In tracing the evolution of the Library of Congress project, the author shows how early auditory archive-building, despite its ad hoc practices, endorsed the authority of the short lyric and posited the voice as the ultimate hermeneutic key, while simultaneously reinforcing the canonization of High Modernist authors and New Critics who in print expressed disdain for this sort of authority-building. As anxiety about producing documentary evidence of a national culture spurred the identification of an artist's aural performance with official sanction, institutional discourse--academic, governmental, and pedagogical--collided with the aesthetic discourse and technological ideology of the mid-twentieth century. The author concludes that despite attempts to recuperate a lost oral tradition, magnetic sound recording of poets reading aloud serves mainly to reconfigure and affirm the graphical authority of literary work even as we move into a post-print era. The creative element, "Chapter Two: Famous Birds, A Collection of Poetry," challenges the authority of the spoken voice which the author examines in the Library of Congress project by graphically, semantically, and syntactically deploying language in a way that seems to deny an authoritative oral expression. The "subject matter" of these poems might be characterized as soliloquies interrupted by the language of the world, such that any and all internal and external events that occur during the process of writing can be filtered and integrated into the poem.