Sound Possibility

The New Yorker selects Muldoon. I can't say I've really been able to get through a poem of Paul Muldoon's, let alone enjoy myself all that much. Too much of the prosaic for my taste. I'm unabashedly fond of the sexy and subversive. Though, if anyone can show me sexy/subversive Muldoon, I will be happy to revise my opinion. I love how the article essentially assures the reader that the aesthetic will not be disturbed by the shift in editorial leadership; no, Dear Reader, rest assured, The New Yorker will continue to rock your middle-brow evenings with the poetic equivalent of bran.

I've just heard that eMusic has added audiobooks to their listening selection. I'm sort of giddy about the possiblities of transmitting verse through recording. It's a different way of accessing the art that I feel is a bit undervalued - I don't value the importance of hearing a poem read enough, but I really want to. When I think of poetry read, I think of a couple of very different/somewhat similar instances I was exposed to in grad school - one, a recording of Cin Salach, which was deliberately performative and genre-hopping; the other, a recording of (I think) Joshua Beckman and Matthew Rohrer, which was also a deliberate performance, but it was also 1) a live reading, more-or-less in traditional poetry reading fashion and 2) impromptu collaboration, taking advantage of audience energy to generate some poems on the spot - with moderate success and much failure, as is the case for most improv performance. But, I'm thinking of a place in between these models - not as planned, rehearsed and mastered as Salach, yet not as improvish as Beckman/Rohrer.

Had my thesis been less of a monstrous, unfocused steaming pile (like the malformed siamese twin in Basketcase...which is, by the way, only my favorite B movie about secret siamese twins and revenge murder), it would have approached the subject of "page bias" - that the scoring of a poem (lineation and the like) have bypassed in importance how one interprets that score orally. But, I have my best experiences with poems I engage out loud. I feel also that there's an underlying paranoia that to speak a poem is to perform it and to perform it - well, opens the door for it to be acted, which, let's face it, invites overacting. All of which overshadows the fact that a poem written today (less slam, which I don't even have the background to engage) is of the page, for the page - endures or dies by the page. And we're all so hyperaware of being weird anyway, better to cuddle the status quo.

The poetry selection at eMusic is pretty sparse right now and the sub-genres offered are confined to "poetry" and "classical poetry" - like poetry and poetry lite? They feature none but more canonical works/poets - Hardy, Shakespeare, Poe, &c. Other people reading dead people's poems. But, I would like to hear some kids record their own work. And I mean kids as in under 40. Which is not to blast the page - because, you know, they could have liner notes, right?


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