I found and posted the link to that Larkin quote, finished up some other stuff, and walked downtown to The Lowell Folk Festival
. The highlight for me was Colombian harp player Edmar Castañeda
with his beautiful wife, poet and expert Latin/jazz singer Andrea Tierra
. Their final number was truly remarkable: Canto
Click on Canto
, and you will hear Andrea Tierra call the work "a mix of Latin American rhythms with jazz and some poetry." Playing the clarinet is the brilliant Sam Sadigursky
, who's latest project is "The Words Project," "which consists of poems set to musical composition. Rather than have the poetry spoken over a musical background, the goal is to create actual songs from the poems, and to use these songs as forms for improvisation." (Unfortunately, Sam Sadigursky was not with the ensemble today, but of course, an excellent jazz violinist from Venezuala was instead, and I did not catch his name.) They received a standing ovation in Lowell. Had to.
Through their artistry, there is a pinnacle of performing poetry that is being reached. How would you like your poetry heard through artistry such as this?
Now, we have Philip Larkin, who says, "Hearing a poem, as opposed to reading it on the page, means you miss so much." And I agree. So much written-word artistry is lost, the beauty of reading a poem off the page at one's own pace, in one's own setting, for one own's purposes--the silent artistry filled only by what the reader brings, looking back and forth, down, back up, then further down, catching and matching imagery and rhythms in the words, appreciating the craft, hanging onto sentences that must be hung onto. So much is lost.
And then there's the case of concrete poetry. Mary Ellen Solt
just died. She loved words, and crafted her poetry onto the page, a very concrete poetry. So much would be lost if we only heard readings of it. If fact, though, why would you? Of course, I bet the likes of a Sam Sadigursky could do something wonderful with a Solt poem.
So much is lost when we take a stand and say poetry should only be written, or rather should only be spoken, or even that all poems should be appreciated both written and spoken.
This discussion is all over the web right now, with some great purview and response:
Jim Knowles at mipo's cafe' cafe'
a rough draft at Inside the Writers' Studio
GA Sunshine and Lazarus at Wild Poetry Forum
maryanncorbett and Judy at The Waters
ewickliffe, Autonomyisdestiny, and Dragon at The Critical Poet
Hopefully, anyone who wishes to, may log into these discussion threads, or register to. These responses are all from IBPCommunity forums, a community we may alll be part of. If not, e-mail me and I will tell you what was said: firstname.lastname@example.org.