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Music

Tom Waits’ many, many moons

March 14, 2011
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Waits has a thing for moons, and has been working on lyrical variations of this one metaphor for gong on 40 years.

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Ur Poems: David Shapiro

January 28, 2011
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My first memory of my father is: “Hurled headlong flaming!”

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Meditation on Apollinaire

January 12, 2011
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I must describe the physical sensation this poem had on me. It was a hot and humid day, and the house was full of fans whirring, and flies buzzing, and no one was home.

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Joe Weil’s Album: I Hate Life

November 20, 2010
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[Recording: Joe Weil]

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Sondheim, The Demon Lyricist of Broadway

November 14, 2010
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Sondheim isn’t a man to cloud the expression of his judgments with considerations like politeness or collegial complicity. Were his rivals still alive, they might want to take out a contract on him.

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Jazz, Workshop, Fake books, & Misremembering

November 2, 2010
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By the shores of gitchee goomy, / Stood the noble Hiawatha / quoting from the other shore: / Only this and nothing more.

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NOTES ON NOISE

March 24, 2010
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People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share…
-Paul Simon

Music, I regret to say, affects me merely as an arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds….
-Vladimir Nabokov

To my wife Anne, without whose silence this book never would have been written.
-Philip K. Dick, dedication page from The Man in the High Castle

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As If She Were a Symbol of Something

March 17, 2010
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Before I post my regularly scheduled post, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I give you an excerpt from James Joyce’s “The Dead.”

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To Make Bach the Grund of Grundrisse and the Chaconne of a Shocked Shack

March 15, 2010
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Today I thought I should add my secret voice to your evaluations.
Your intelligence may be genius, but remember as my mother saids also always to be nice.
A seventh grade teacher consoled me when I was teased:
You can always tell the genius by the enemies who surround him.

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An Annotated ‘Some Enchanted Evening’

March 12, 2010

The Temptations sing ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ and you can read along with an annotated lyric sheet

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that gum you like is going to come back in style

March 10, 2010

With the creation of one of the high achievements of mankind, Twin Peaks, David Lynch made a world so ecstatic it demanded its own reality. I’ve been really thinking about Julee Cruise and Twin Peaks SO MUCH lately. What makes it so good? Where did this music come from? Who is Julee Cruise *really*!?

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Blogging through Grossman, Part 3: Poetic Promiscuity.

March 2, 2010
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We recent poets have two great tools at our disposal: freedom of poetic license, and freedom of publishing. Generally, we can say whatever we want, and get a significant number of people to hear what we have to say. The question is whether this freedom has led to better poetry or degeneration. Perhaps that’s not the best way to put it. The question should be, even if somebody is doing something amazing and new in poetry, would we even see it? Will we travel all this way to find that we really did need the gatekeepers of poetry??

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The Lyric Workshop, Session 1: Theme From Shaft

February 24, 2010
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PROFESSOR: Mary Ann, would you mind reading your poem aloud so that we can hear it in your own voice?

MARY ANN: Absolutely. Ahem.

Who’s the black private dick
That’s a sex machine to all the chicks?
SHAFT!
Ya damn right!

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Tangent

February 17, 2010

On fourth of July, alone in my kitchen and the sound of distant fireworks. I drink cheap Merlot, watch the dark break and enter through the windows. I am all over the Internet, but would rather be all over someone else: a tangent. A tanager. Today, by the river I saw a scarlet tanager. Had […]

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Alexander McQueen, RIP

February 11, 2010
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I’m don’t consider myself a comfortable elegist (is anyone?), but reading of Alexander McQueen’s death this morning forces me to take up the mantle. I’m not a huge fashion-buff, but I made the walk past the McQueen store on 14th Street a highlight of my daily commute when I worked in Chelsea. His clothes seemed […]

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