Friday, October 24, 2008

collaboration with Dan Yorty

Dan Yorty is a musician who lives around the corner from me. We met at Temple a few years ago in a poetry class I was teaching (the first poetry writing class I ever taught, actually, which was something of a nightmare). And Dan let me hear some music he added to a recording of Charles Olson reading "In Cold Hell, in Thicket," and it made the hair stand on my neck - in a good way - it was a good nightmare. Dan's music had amplified this sinister, haunting quality in Olson's voice, and even of the poem, re-animating it for me without sacrificing its original essence. He'd made a whole new thing that included the old thing. Which fascinated me.

So when Dan offered to record my poems last summer and put music to it, I said sure. We hung out in his apartment, where he recorded my reading of the first 16 pages of Old News, and later incorporated percussion - which includes a rawhide drum, maracas, brushes, ride cymbal, high tom, floor tom, floor tom played with fingers, and sounds that drifted through the 3rd floor window at 13th and Moore. You can listen to it here.