Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wordplay: Mark Strand reads for RiverSculpture

Way back in late September, Mark Strand (that Mark Strand - former Poet Laureate, MacArthur Fellowship winner, and on and on, arguably one of the most celebrated poets of the last fifty years) visited Asheville to read for the benefit for RiverSculpture, a cause near and dear to the hearts of his old friends Robert and Arlene Winkler. He actually read twice, once at the home of Ron and Nancy Edgerton, and then again at the local Barnes & Noble. Your intrepid reporter had to head to Hickory for the Spirit of Black Mountain College festival on the 25th, so couldn't record the B&N event, but did catch the private reading the night before. This week's show features that reading.

I've included part of a 2007 reading at George Mason University, as well, one in which Strand gave a more chronological overview of his work.

It's fascinating work, of course. I'd read most of his poems through the years quietly, to myself, and hearing him in person made me aware that I'd missed much of the music. Note to self: poetry needs to be sounded out.* Always, no matter how ratiocinative and logopoetic (in Pound's sense) it might appear.

Robert and Arlene were on hand for the show, and gave listeners out in radioland a primer on RiverSculpture and its mission, and some background on Strand and the readings.

Give it a listen.


*Update, 9 December, 2008: There's vispo, visual poetry, of course, which does not use sound as its primary material, though it will often draw on (as it were) the dimension of sound as well. Other than that .... As Bunting said it: "Compose aloud; poetry is sound."

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Wordplay welcomes Peter Culley ... and Ezra Pound!

For this week's fall fundraiser we featured the British Columbia author of The Age of Briggs and Stratton, who read just over a week ago at The French Broad Institute of Time and the River. A project of Lee Ann Brown and Tony Torn, the Institute is definitely putting new life in the nightlife of Marshall, NC.

Peter's done several residencies in the Smokies, now, and they're beginning to find their way into his work.

We sometimes do archival shows on Wordplay, and have featured readings by Whitman, Tennyson, Yeats, and others whose voices recording technologies have happily saved from time during our three years of broadcasting. Today we featured the great Ezra Pound in readings from 1938 to 1967; he was 82 in the latter year, but still had a strong, complex voice. His reading of Canto LXXXI is exquisite, and poetry doesn't get much better than that. "What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross..."

A huge thanks to PennSound for making its Pound archive available through the 'net.

By the way, you might notice a few pops and distortions during the first minute of Peter's reading. I'd set up that night to record the stage, but everyone decided to perform on the floor instead. What you hear is me moving the mics to get a more balanced recording. Sorry about that.

Music for today's show included tunes from the remarkable Anni Rossi, who performed at the Institute as part of the program which included Peter, and California flutist Suzanne Teng.

Do lend it an ear (.mp3 file)


Photo by Tony Torn, borrowed from Peter's EPC page, linked above.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

At long last ...

I'll be working as a poll judge at Asheville's Precinct 3, so I voted week before last. If you haven't already voted too, please leave your computer for awhile and wander over to your polling place and mark the boxes, punch the buttons, or touch the screen and get it done. Really. You know you'll be glad you did.