If the Book Could Be Heard

At one point the intention for the book was to include a CD of recorded performances of the poems and some of the prose. Things did not work out that way but you need not miss out.

I’m talking about Lee Foust‘s recent publication of Sojourner.

I’ve been listening to his recordings on soundcloud.com for almost two years now. I’ve always had the impression that you could find him on a street corner or in a park in Florence, drums in hand and his voice and eye sneering at the American tourists (of course, only his fellow Americans). Or I can imagine him reading his work to his creative writing students, alternately trying to scare them to death with the poet’s edge he gives to every word or breaking their young hearts with tales of love lost. Maybe none of this is true but it’s easy to imagine. I mean, it also wouldn’t be hard to imagine those students totally numb and oblivious, just because he’s their teacher.

It could be a sad thing that the CD of poems was not included with the book. But you’re in luck. The recordings have long been available to hear but, in preparation for the book, they have not been available for download. Now you can download them and burn that CD yourself (thank you, I’m in the process of doing just that this weekend).

Foust’s performances have always seemed to me to have an abrasive edge, something of a scab of anger and disgust with how people treat one another. On reading the prose in Sojourner I found a different feel, more observant, introspective, and distant. But am I projecting? My favorite composition in the book is “Sojourner (Back in NYC)”. Reading it to myself it was meditative, philosophical, almost a chant of variations on a theme. To again hear him read it, the piece is entirely of the earth, full of flesh and the senses, the experience quite tangible and not particularly peaceful.

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Categories: Here and now | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

About swampmessiah

Real name, Michael Myshack. I was born in 1957 (pre-Sputnik), graduated high school in 1975, and then slowly began coming to life. I am self-taught in the arts as well as most other things: drawing and babbling since a very early age; started painting seriously in 1975; began writing shortly thereafter, but began writing in earnest circa 1977 (beginning with poetry); first started recording poems and music and other sounds in 1996. Other than an individual showing of drawings at the Tweed Museum at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1983 and being an instigator and participant of a group exhibit of drawing at the Duluth Art Institute in 1985, I have no professional or academic pedigree. In other words, I have a day job. I've been with someone since 1985. Our children were born in 1991 and 1996.

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