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.

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*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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