thinking about music and poetry before church


Image result for steve coleman musician


I like this quote of composer, Steve Coleman:

“The only thing that means anything to me is: What do I know this year that’s different than what I knew two years ago? And am I doing anything about it?” Steve Coleman, quoted in Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century by Nate Chinen p.83

My library copy of Chinen’s book is coming due in a few days with no possibility of renewal. I am resisting ordering a copy. Besides cool ideas like Coleman’s, there are many, many recommendations of new music to listen to in it.

Image result for rca victor listening dog

At the end of each chapter is a list of five or six recordings to listen to. And there is an Appendix called “The 129 Essential Albums of the Twenty-First Century (So Far).”

I have been copying the lists at the end of the chapters and doing a bit of listening. I’ll probably photocopy the appendix of essential albums.  The prose of the book is designed so that each chapter has a certain independence. This will make turning it in unread and then re-borrowing it to finish easier.

Image result for lake michigan daniel borzutzky

I’m just finishing up this excellent little book, Lake Michigan by Daniel Borzutzky. His poems are rhythmic haunted chants that challenge the state or as one blurber puts it: challenges the “barbarism enacted by our nation’s security machine.”

Borzutzky himself has described it as ” … a book of poem/narratives called Lake Michigan that is about a prison-camp/torture zone on a beach on the northern end of Chicago, on the border with the city of Evanston.” (link to source)

The factual basis of the poem is terrible things that happened in Chicago and in “The bay of the Chilean city of Valparaiso ,,,where the Chilean Naval Academy is located, and after Pinochet came to power it was a site of mass detention, torture and death.” (same source as above)

A little poking around revealed this 2015 report:

 I think he owes a debt to the beat poets. In a good way. If you’re curious about the poem. here’s a link to a section of it.


4 thoughts on “thinking about music and poetry before church

  1. I have been wanting to read the Chinen book for a while, but I have a few to get through first. I am very interested in your opinion of this book, so let me know what you think.

  2. They used that same quote in the NPR story on the book that I heard, and I wrote it down too. I loved the idea!

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