Monday, February 28, 2011

Best of Hipster Disney; Mermaids & Poetry

As a kid, I always wanted Ursula to win in The Little Mermaid. Ariel was too whiny. Also, Eric was totally the boringest of the princes. At least he liked dogs, I guess. And...silent women. (Probs that last one would be a dealbreaker in my case.)

Awesome program at the Brooklyn Public Library yesterday -- Matthea Harvey, one of my favorite poets, read some of her mermaid poems (one was in the New Yorker last August -- rare that their poetry suits my tastes, but I love this) as part of a collaboration with a few members of the Brooklyn Philharmonic (Bridget Kibbey on harp, Ah Ling Neu on viola, and David Wechsler on flute). I just put Matthea's newest book "Modern Life" on reserve at the library -- my favorite of her mermaid poems that she read was "The Inside-Out Mermaid". I'm amazed by how she manages to combine whimsy with packing an emotional punch.

I've been stumbling across a lot of fantastic poems lately, and I am thinking of recording a podcast of some of my favorites. As I mentioned earlier, I've been interested lately in the use of the speaking voice as it relates to poetry -- but I tend to feel alienated by what's considered "spoken word". I'm thinking about doing some recordings that involve singing poems, too. I think it's fascinating how we can listen to songs over and over, and how the lyrics become a part of us years later -- and maybe incorporating more musicality into the world of poetry could help change our hearts and minds in that direction.

I also finally bought a copy of Nox by Anne Carson, which is so incredibly lush, expansive, and gorgeous. It puts me into a similar mind-space as House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (except without the nightmares, so far), which affected a lot of the creative work I did in the end of high school and early college (to be honest, I'm afraid to reread it, in case it doesn't hold up -- because I love what it became to me). In the advent of e-readers, I love seeing books that effectively use the medium of printed text. I understand the advantages to e-readers and it's exciting to me to see what publishers are doing with them, but there's something really special about ink, pages, and the new-book (and old-book! and smell. For those of us with tactile sensations, we need to encourage publishers doing new and interesting things with the print medium. How can we incorporate additional senses into books of poems and stories? How can we capture a spirit of revelation? (Or maybe "release" is a better word than "capture", in this context.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011