Thursday 5 June 2008

Concert at Vic

Busy day, at Whitireia's city campus which was a change, neat. James Brown did not come, but we have so much to talk about, it didn't matter, another time. Nice being so close to home, took the train and walked, also because we were going up the hill to a concert at Vic's Music department - assessment of music students - and there is no parking there.

So we read our monthly reports, based on our journals - in my case, this blog.

Not particularly edifying due to the disruptions to routine. My basic conclusion is that I might have read more poetry. Several books by Rilke wait on the floor by my table, Lynn D's recommendation. Also Celan's book has finally arrived from the library, though I know I should go out and buy a couple of copies, one for me and one for the Temple.

Yesterday finished - or so I thought- a review of Yehuda Amichai's Poems of Jerusalem and Love Poems (1992, The Sheep Meadow Press, Bilingual Edition), really got into one of his poems. 1000 words max, and I wrote explanations about what things meant, rather than looking at how he writes his poems. Fortunately realised this before handing it in, and Hinemoana is understanding. I've another week to shorten what is there and to insert more analysis about one poem in particular and his style in general. I can read that poem without too much emotion. Some of the others are in the Appendix.

Since most of Amichai's review has been written, David Whyte's book has resurfaced, from under a pile of unpaid bills: that's how it goes. Too busy to pay the bills, then when I came back today, sat down to deal with them, and there was The House of Belonging, like a reward.

It is really his Salmon poem I would like to write about, but have not been able to find the book in any library.

About the concert: Hinemoana suggested that we might write a poem about the experience. I sat for part of the time writing what I was hearing - it was as if it was flowing out of my hand and on to the paper, I enjoyed that process.

What we were hearing was not your Mozart minuet, oh no. It was noise-production using electronic media and any other source. I was not always sure what was a recording (the sound of the Chinese lutist on Lambton Quay? the radio?) and for some reason I wanted to know that. At one point someone sawed a piece of furniture. Sounds were amplified, repeated, distorted, changed in all kinds of ways, married to other sounds. Someone passed a wire between their teeth, like the proverbial rose, biting on it - it was wired to make a sound, but evidently, not to electrocute. One guy was busy with water, he had a little pool including a rubber duck, and I worried about the combination of all those wired up electrical things everywhere, the water and his bare feet. The sounds weren't all that watery.

I loved the deep sounds that take over the body, so that one hears with every part of oneself, not only the ears. One could even say we were hearing with our hair, our skin, our eyes. Giant sound vibrations like waves. Like in a rock concert, someone said.

Mostly no rhythm that I could sense and very little pattern. And as I write this, I remember the Italian poem projected onto the screen, with all those bright sine waves going up and down, that was a pattern all right.

My favourite moments were when there was something recognisable, a human voice singing, mostly. And then when I re-read what I'd written in my book. Fun.

Ah, and finally: email from a friend who is reading one of Saramago's books, she says she loves it. I hope her enthusiasm sustains her to the end of the book. My existence as a lonely Saramago fan may be over.

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