poems, mostly metrical, and rants and raves on poets, poetry, and the po-biz (with 8-string stuff)
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Category — Music

Does Greatness Require Difficulty?

If what one means is that there is always difficult work to do in preparation for doing great work in some field and, sometimes, even more difficulty in the production of some particular great work in that field, I’m on board.

But in a fine essay at The London Review of Books , “Is Wagner bad for us?,” Nicholas Spice says this near the end:

The compression of information characteristic of much great music, the speed at which it passes, the bewildering density and delicacy of its over-determination, makes it difficult in the way that poetry is difficult. Like poetry, music deflects our gaze. It is an elusive medium which we grasp only partially through an endless process of interpretation.”

I know that’s meant as a compliment to poetry, but I’m glad for that “much” immediately before “great music,’ and I’d be very glad for a similar qualifier applied to “poetry.”

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March 28, 2013   7 Comments

In Other News …

Last night at band practice our bass player surprised me with a nifty setting to Tuesday’s triolet. I think we’re going to add it to the repertoire.

And I’ve added a link to Jingle Monster‘s very nifty Times in Rhymes, rhyming couplet commentary on the (mostly Australian) news of the day.

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September 29, 2011   No Comments

Just for Kicks

My band, Fractal Folk, on You Tube, doing part of a song Krys Baker set from a poem I never finished. Thanks, Tess!

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March 28, 2011   No Comments

After Hard Rain

Yesterday it rained and they closed the schools and sent us home from work and the rain never stopped while I was conscious. This morning, no rain, but neither was there sun. This morning I took Lew Turco‘s (here’s his wikipedia page) The Book of Forms from the shelf and opened it at random to the cyrch a chwda, a nearly mono-rhymed heptasyllabic Welsh octave with a cross rhyme from the penultimate line to mid-syllable of the last line, and gave myself two hours before stopping to prepare for tonight’s gig (more later). I made one:

That Rain

From first light the light was drowned
And all day the only sound
Was water always earthbound
Or spilling from the high ground
To the low until it found
Some way inside earth or wound
Itself in stream, pond, or lake,
And could retake the world around.

The third word of the last line changed just now, from “remake.” The day was really quite sinister.

But today was quite different. I’m pleased with the poem, and a 3/8th fraction of Fractal Folk, just Krys, our trombonist/flautist Greg DiCristofaro, and I, did a damned good job playing the sidewalk outside Larry’s Comic Book Café (but the Leonardtown Location).

I’m a happy man.

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October 1, 2010   2 Comments

Stella’s Song, the Song

Krys Baker writes almost all the music for our band, Fractal Folk, and some of that music is settings for poems of mine. “Stella’s Song” will be on our demo CD, which we finished mixing this weekend at Nightsky Studios. The poem was originally published in The Louisville Review, and also appears in my mss Other Voices.

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September 19, 2010   No Comments

Rhythm & Booze

There was a lot of both at West Chester, but I’m talking Julie Kane‘s book, one of two of hers, and one of about 40 altogether that I purchased at the conference. I’m a poor man now.

Late last night I picked Rhythm & Booze as the first of those forty to read, mostly because it was selected for publication by Maxine Kumin (I wished her a Happy Birthday a few weeks ago). It was late, and I didn’t intend to do more than browse a bit, but I ended up reading the whole thing twice, so I’m a sleepy man, too.

I love the book, particularly the first two thirds or so, which is filled with fabulous villanelles. Her other book, Jazz Funeral, was published last January and I intend to read it for review this weekend — tonight I’ll be busy with the last rehearsal before the first real gig (tomorrow!) for Fractal Folk.

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June 17, 2009   1 Comment

A Fabulous Night

For the first time in nearly 3 years I played my Rigel R-100. I stupidly damaged it while playing one night at an open mic, and didn’t know Pete Langdell at Rigel was still doing repairs. The folks I asked to look at it wouldn’t touch it.

Our guitar player is taking instrument repair workshops, and a few months ago said “I can’t break it worse than it is” and I said “OK” — and he ran into Pete Langdell. And it’s beautiful now — the damage is invisible, it sounds like a dream straight and plugged-in, and tonight for the first time in months my left hand was pain-free after a 3-hour band practice. Huzzah for radiused fretboards!

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June 3, 2009   1 Comment

Why So Many Muffins?

Fractal Folk is live!

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March 27, 2009   No Comments

A Brief Miscellany

  • My friend Al Maginnes is the featured poet in the current Wild Goose Review.
  • Allison Joseph has started a blog devoted to the rondeau and its cousins, The RONDEAU ROUNDUP.
  • There’s been a lot of web noise about David Orr’s recent piece on greatness. I don’t know if it’s actually a direct response, but here is the answer. Auden, as so often: no work of art is unjustly remembered.
  • We (Krys Baker‘s band) rented a theater last Friday and hired a videographer. We don’t have his files yet, but Krys’s youngest (8!) took some pretty neat video of two of the songs (“Nine Circles” and “Why Am I Alone Tonight”) with her tiny digital camera. No bass response, as one would expect, but the sound is otherwise pretty remarkable. And I like the way the camera dances. It’s all up, at various resolutions, here.
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March 3, 2009   1 Comment

Mixed Bag

  • In my podcast Thursday I said I thought I’d never before written a trimeter triolet. I was wrong, and having considered both, I think I won’t write another. Such short lines in such a short poem with so many repetitions leave the things feeling too static — or maybe I just can’t pull it off yet.
  • I didn’t know Alfred Corn had a blog till after it nearly died! Now I’m swimming with The Current.
  • Along with Corn’s, I’ve added several poetry blogs on the left. Lots more to come!
  • Today Krys is accompanying Jennifer Anne Cooper in a preview of Cooper’s Go-DIVA show.
  • The ice is melting! Of course, in the larger scheme that’s a bad thing.
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February 7, 2009   No Comments