Three Poems in Posit #10

Very excited to have three poems in the latest issue of Posit Journal. Two have very long titles: That The Lake Would Still Be Frozen Had Not Occurred To Me, But Can’t We Just Leave Tornado Alley Though, & Tinnitus News.You should definitely check out the rest of the issue, especially the visual art.

Not that my poems are true or real or about anything, but when I was in Texas recently I snuck up behind my childhood home and took a picture of the honeysuckle bush that’s in the first poem. Look!

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Private Hearing / Public Address

On May 1st, I performed two pieces of music in the basement of Unnamable Books in Brooklyn, about a block from where Kelly and I lived in 2002. It was at an Boog City event, the d.a. levy-palooza #3, featuring Nostrovia! Press, Lark Books, and my friend Marthe’s Nous-Zot Press. Marthe invited me along to play music in between the different poem-readers. The event had been planned for the backyard, but setting up my gear in the basement, right next to the HCI section, seemed like a perfect fit.

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The work I performed was a combination of drones, field recordings, and synthesizer burbles and sequences I’ve been working on over the past few months. Most of the inspiration for the pieces came from the start-up chime that plays in my hearing aids each morning, something that no one else hears. I sampled that, and worked it into a composition with my microbrute synth, my Suzuki omnichord, a little transistor radio, my telecaster and ebow, a 20 year old Akai S20 sampler, a little Volca Beats drum machine, and lots of effects boxes I’ve collected over the years (including a Electro Harmonix Freeze pedal, that really shaped the sound on these). Here’s an image of the set up I dragged across New York State:

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Along with the hearing aid samples, I drew audio from my “True Confession: I Wore a Wire” project, my 2005 ambient album For Fora, a recording of a hospital recovery room, chopped audio from this video of Kelly and me in Iceland, and a few other places, like the non-playing parts of a recording of me on acoustic guitar and a recording of me typing poems and secrets.

I haven’t performed my own music out in front of people for a while; probably just DJ sets since about 2006, and definitely not without other musicians on stage for very long time. I think that really influenced what I put together, and how I prepared. Most generally, these pieces are about different ways of hearing, what we hear when we are alone, or think that we are, and all of the sounds that come in between the “content” of our lives. The melodic portions of both compositions were concerned with matching the notes in the bizarre and comforting hearing aid chime, and trying to replicate its dissonance (while still remaining listenable for a crowd of poets).

I ended up doing two 15 minute sets at the event, and my final rehearsals for those are posted below. “Private Hearing” was first, then “Public Address.”

I was pretty happy with the result; no one left the basement while I was playing, and it all reverberated off of the books and basement walls in a pretty satisfying way. One glitch was that someone put their purse down on a surge protector and knocked out the power to half of my gear before I started, but that was fairly easily resolved. Also, I think I did a better job closing out the second piece cleanly live than the rehearsal recording shows. People were really attentive to the field recordings and interested in the Omnichord. I’d like to be in a situation to play something like this much, much louder, but that will have to wait for another venue and audience.

Really System at Handcrafted Rhetorics Workshop

Last week I went to Tampa for the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication Annual Convention and to conduct a pre-conference workshop, Handcrafted Rhetorics: DIY & the Public Power of Made Things, with Jason Luther, Frank Farmer, Chelsea Murdock, Martha Webber, and Kristi Prins. The handouts for the makers’ faire portion of the workshop and additional details can be found at HandcraftedRhetorics.org. Thanks to the folks from the Tampa Free Skool and from the Tampa Zine Fest — Shae, Phillip, and Cole– for participating and bringing some local flavor to our discussion (also thanks for the record store and restaurant recommendations!).

A storify (in which I feature heavily, as self-appointed scrivener for the session) appears below.

As a bonus, our flight was delayed on Friday, so Jason and I got to spend a morning at the beach!

cross post: REALLY SYSTEM @ WHEATON COLLEGE NEXT WEEK

I’m thrilled to have been invited to visit Wheaton College to discuss reading, writing, and technology in a TechPaths Lecture next week. I’m also very excited to be visiting a creative writing class while I’m there– we’re going to do some Really System-style treatments of the texts they’re working on.

In honor of the visit, here’s a visualization of the text of Really System Issues 1-5 I created using the Lexos integrated Lexomics workflow tool developed at Wheaton by faculty and undergraduates. I’m hoping I get to talk to some of those involved while I’m there. This image totally reminds me of the cover to Love’s Forever Changes LP, which I love to be reminded of.  Listen below. Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 6.45.12 PM

Everything I remember from my 90s cross-country roadtrips published in Sundog Lit

I have a piece of writing (poem? fiction? creative non-fiction? IDK) up in the new (Letters from) The Road issue of Sundog Lit. Rumble (Road Trips, 97-99), contains every memory I have from the some trips I took back then, cheifly Greensboro, NC to San Francisco; Greensboro, NC to Austin, and San Antonio to Atlanta. Some other minor trips thrown in their too. Also, a considerable confession. Here are some things referenced:

The spot marked the Spot, Fort Funston SF (w/ Danica, Jonathan, Nathan, and Matthew [my traveling companion]):

Matthew again:

Me at the beach:

The musical parts of the piece are about Take Me To The Mardi Gras, by Bob James, which is my internal soundtrack to one of those trips and is familiar to everyone (though the warped record was Elliott Smith’s XO, which came out while we were on the road).

“Lanterna” in here/there:poetry

I forgot to post that my poem “Lanterna,” appeared in here/there:poetry, co-edited by Really System record-holder for poems in most consecutive issues, Amy Schriebman Walter.

It’s about a cabin in the Adirondacks we rented a few years ago. We just got back from there again. We saw a snake at Kelly’s favorite swimming hole, seen below (the swimming hole, not the snake).
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WordPress Adapted from: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.