Friday, October 17, 2008

Wordplay this week: Lee Ann Brown

This past Sunday we celebrated the work of New York (and Marshall, NC) poet Lee Ann Brown. I drew on several recordings of Lee Ann, the first from 2002, when she came to Asheville for the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center's "Under the Influence" festival. It was her first North Carolina reading, and she was in high spirits - but, then, Lee Ann seems always to be in high spirits. The reading took place at Malaprops, Asheville's wonderful independent bookstore; it was recorded by Adam Johnson.

The Museum + Arts Center itself furnished the venue for the second reading, a celebration of the East Coast Beat poets. Lee Ann performed, among other things, lovely versions of a poem by Allen Ginsberg and of Ginsberg's and Ed Sanders' arrangements of William Blake songs. The Jar-e Jazz Quartet provided musical support and sonic texture. The reading took place on February 11, 2005, and Jason Brady recorded.

This past January Lee Ann was in Marshall for the holidays, and met me at the WPVM studios to read some recent work and talk about the directions she's currently exploring. I've used a substantial portion of our interview in the show's final segment.

I opened the show with an Iraqi folk song performed by Beth Brown, Lee Ann's sister, and her husband Ra'ed Rawawey at Malaprops for the 2002 reading. At the first break you'll hear Pentangle performing the old Child ballad "Omie Wise," from their 1989 release A Maid That's Deep in Love. The second break features Ronald and Anna-Wendy Stevenson performing "Lady Charlotte Campbell," from their 2005 release Gowd and Silver. The show's outro has Charles Lloyd performing another old old classic, "The Water Is Wide." I'm not sure which of his collections the track originally appeared on, but it's now on iTunes, where I found it. If you listen to the interview, you'll know why it was just the right piece on which to close.

Thanks to Lee Ann, and to all whose work made this show possible. It'll be on the station archive through October 26th, and will re-broadcast this Sunday, October 19th, at 2:00 PM, since I'll be at a funeral in Charlotte.



There are several shows waiting for me to upload them to the archive, and I'll do notes on those as I get them transferred. For the last six weeks or so, since the resignation of the station manager, I've been helping to manage WPVM, and it's involved many meetings, hours and hours of computer support, and many other commitments of time and energy. My apologies to the authors whose shows await the renewed light of day on the net.

Photo: Lee Ann Brown at her home in Marshall, May 2005.

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