some poetry and music

I have been enjoying reading Derek Walcott’s Omeros. A book length poem sounds like a dreary proposition but Walcott is continuing to charm and interest me. He is writing about straddling the old world and the new. The old world is England (with its erudition and colonialism) and the USA (with its racism and destruction of indigenous people). The new world is mostly St. Lucia, the island from which Walcott hailed, and the Caribbean in general.

He flits about from setting to setting and from time period to time period without too much warning. But so far it has all made sense to me. Imagine my delight, to find that the section I arrived at this morning was an homage to James Joyce. Very cool. Since one of the sustaining metaphors in Omeros is Homer (that’s what it means) and his Iliad and Odyssey, it is a logical step to the troubles in Ireland and Joyce.

As usual Walcott expects the reader to figure out just where and when he has shifted in the new chapter.  By the time he uses Joyce’s name in the final few lines of the chapter it has been obvious for a while that’s who he’s writing about. Not only Joyce but Ireland. 

Each chapter has three sections marked by  number. Here is section 2 from Chapter XXXIX, the one about Ireland and Joyce. I love the image of the shirt.

Though all its wiry hedgerows startle the spirit,
when the ancient letters rise to a tinker’s spoon,
banging a saucepan, those fields which they inherit

hide stones white-knuckled with hatred. A pitted moon
mounted the green pulpit of Sugar Loaf Mountain
in its wax collar. Along a yew-guarded road,

a cloud hung from a branch in the orange hour,
like a shirt that was stained with poetry and with blood.
The wick of the cypress charred. Glen-da-Lough’s tower.

I discovered this morning the word “curragh” which can mean “a small boat” or a “marshy area” is pronounced with a stress on the first not the second syllable. Walcott uses this word in the first line of this section.

This morning I returned to reading Inside Early Music, a collection of interviews by Bernard D. Sherman. At first I cherry picked my way through these. But I have been enjoying them so much that I decided to read them all. A few days back I started the one with Barbara Thorton about Hildegaard of Bingen.

I remember when the Hildegaard fad was going. A choir member gave me a “new-agey” type book about her.

Image result for vision the life and music hildegard von bingen

It’s approach was so goofy, I didn’t take Hildegard very seriously. I recently ran across this book since I have been working on organizing my books. I gave it another try. Nope. I see why I rejected it out of hand. However, the Barbara Thorton interview inspired me to try again. I put on a play list and read in J. S. Bach: A Life in Music by Peter Williams (another of my little reading projects). Suddenly a track came on that was so beautiful, I couldn’t concentrate on reading. Here. You can make up your own mind.

I haven’t found any information yet about the use of instruments with this music, but I do like this track quite a bit.

  So much is happening right now. This is significant, I think.

It is beginning to feel a lot the beginning of the Watergate scandal felt. Stay tuned, kids!

Some astute observations about the use of irony online for propaganda.

Alone on the Open Road: Truckers Feel Like ‘Throwaway People’ – The New York Times

“Throwaway People” caught my eye. Interesting profiles. I am friends with a trucker from church. I facebooked him this article and asked what he thought. It will be interesting to see how he replies.

Monica Lewinsky: Roger Ailes’s Dream Was My Nightmare – The New York Times

Did you know the Lewinsky scandal broke on Drudge? I didn’t.

DJ Shadow: ‘Music has never been worth less, and yet sampling has never been more risky’ | Music | The Guardian

Sampling has always interested me. Along with other things (like using copyrighted pics in your blog, ahem), it makes wonder about the art of collage. Here’s what I’m listening to by this guy.


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