Still Here!

Thanks again to everyone who came to my recital on June 6, and who contributed to Jazale’s Art Studio. I was able to hand over nearly $200 to Darren Hill (co-founder) immediately after the recital. If you did not receive my book The Beautiful Unnamed at the recital you may order it (or additional copies) here. Again, all royalties will go to Jazale’s.

Other nice things have happened. As some of you know, I was awarded third place as well as an honorable mention  in this year’s poetry contest sponsored by Wisconsin People & Ideas. The issue will be released, online and in print, next month, but if you want a preview of one of the three poems of mine that will appear there, “The Self-organizing Universal Nail Salon,” you may click here.

“The Nightly Dances of Madame de Loynes” is now up at Zo Magazine. You may remember my entry last August 16 about entering the contest based on connections between art forms: in this case, writing about a famous painting by by Luis Jose Estremadoyro, a contemporary Peruvian painter. The painting is called “The Nightly Unfolding of Madame De Loynes,” and is a fascinating hybrid of realism and, I guess, surrealism. You will have to scroll down the page on Zo Magazine (above) to see my poem, but while you are scrolling, take a look/listen at the other wonderful collaborations among poetry, art, and music!

After a long-anticipated event like a recital, there is often a kind of let-down after, but four days with active young boys—my two grandsons—grounded me quickly!

Another antidote to letdown is to start something new.  The original purpose of this blog was simply to chronicle the experience of preparing my book and recital. But that doesn’t mean that ideas don’t still come!

Looking for new music on the internet last week, I was immediately taken with the music of Rachel Grimes, British composer and pianist whose album Book of Leaves I immediately purchased. On it are many short, arresting pieces, including this one: Every Morning, Birds, which I include here for your listening pleasure.

It reminds me of an article in last Sunday’s NYT’s Review section called “Birds of New York: A Soundscape” by Jeff Talman, a sound artist. If you play the embedded video, you will get a sense of what Talman means when he says, “Flight and music both represent freedom from earthbound restraint. But music is even more intangible; music is made of the air, the medium of flight, the ether between us. Music is made of the sky.” Talman composed by “time-stretching birdcall samples, or extending passages with extra tweets, peeps, and other song elements, I made them ‘fit’ with one another musically to create phrases, harmonies and orchestrations.”

He notes that these sounds are an “astounding part of our [everyday] soundscape.”

Just so.

This morning, before I got up, I listened to a crow starting a rhythm in the backyard. Soon it was joined by the sound of a lawn mower, and then those of the next-door children laughing before getting into a car that then zoomed away. But below it all was the sound of that crow (one of the most intelligent birds, they say, and ones I greatly admire.)

The experience reminded me of an interactive poem (you need to roll your mouse over the images to hear the crows and the music) that I wrote over ten years ago, “Bird Calls.” It is still in the New River Journal  archives here.

And so life goes on. And I guess this blog will too, at least for awhile, even if it has only a small audience! If you want to be notified of when a new post appears, sign up for the RSS feed at the top of the page. The RSS symbol will then appear on your browser, and you can more easily check for updates.

Thanks for being such a good audience!


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