Tag Archives: Lilliput Review

LitRock Songs

Issa’s Untidy Hut has long been one of my favourite blogs, serving up some of the finest ‘little’ poems from the Lilliput Review, poetic explorations into the lives and art of poets and of course Issa’s Sunday Service. The Sunday Service features a song which bridges the gap between rock and literature in some fashion… it may be a reference, it may be the artist themselves or it may be that the words demand closer attention. However it happens, we all know music and literature are not as far removed as some would like to think.  And now, Issa’s Sunday Service has put the call out for submissions of your favourite LitRock Songs and to make it even sweeter, if yours is selected, you receive the two current issues of The Lilliput Review.

Now as you know, I am a huge believer in Ezra Pound’s famous words:

poetry begins to atrophy when it gets too far from music

so here’s a few of my LitRock recommendations for you to dip into…

And please, drop your suggestions to me as a comment, I am always up for some listening and don’t forget to email them to the Lilliput Review for consideration (be sure to check out the first 27 tracks before emailing).

 

lloyd cole#3

Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? – Lloyd Cole & the Commotions

When it comes to Lloyd Cole, there are a number of tracks I could have selected – Rattlesnakes for it’s Simone de Beuvior reference; Perfect Skin for its lyric, Louise is the girl with the perfect skin/ she says turn on the light, otherwise it can’t be seen/ she’s got cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin/ and she’s sexually enlightened by cosmopolitan; Weird On Me for using a line from Raymond Carver – but I have gone for the lesser known Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? Originally recorded as part of the Rattlesnakes sessions, I chose this song for it’s wonderful Norman Mailer reference and all round lyricism. And with Lloyd playing Brisbane’s Powerhouse tonight, his words have been circling my brain. Be sure to watch the clip above…

Here’s a snapshot of the lyrics:

Pumped up full of vitamins
On account of all the seriousness
You say you’re so happy now
you can hardly stand
Lean over on the bookcase
If you really want to get straight
Read Norman Mailer
Or get a new tailor

Are you ready to be heartbroken?

(read the complete lyrics here)

 

 

Springsteen

It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City – Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band

Let’s face it, any song from Springsteen’s first few albums could be included and then there are the tracks from Nebraska & his much overlooked album The Ghost of Tom Joad. The man has penned some of the greatest lyrics of his era. And before I go further into the lyrics of Saint in the City, if you don’t get goosebumps watching this live clip of a young, hungry E-Street Band, tearing up The Hammersmith Odeon on their first tour of Britain, then you need to check your pulse. The way Bruce conducts the whole band here is intense and the guitar duel between he and Little Stevie is white hot. But back to why I chose It’s Hard to be  Saint in the City. Well, it’s purely on the lyric. Springsteen’s early work had that wild, sprawling, carnival feel… all shifting perspectives, haunted visions, streetwise toughness & heady romanticism. Saint is a classic and for mine makes the list every time.

Check out these lyrics:

And the sages of the subway sit just like the living dead
As the tracks clack out the rhythm their eyes fixed straight ahead
They ride the line of balance and hold on by just a thread
But it’s too hot in these tunnels you can get hit up by the heat
You get up to get out at your next stop but they push you back down in your seat
Your heart starts beatin’ faster as you struggle to your feet
Then you’re outa that hole and back up on the street

And them South Side sisters sure look pretty
The cripple on the corner cries out “Nickels for your pity”
And them downtown boys sure talk gritty
It’s so hard to be a saint in the city

(read the complete lyrics here)

 

 

Steve Kilbey

Swan Lake – The Church

Steve Kilbey, like Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan et al. is a poet in his own right. Having released three books – Earthed, Nineveh/The Ephemeron & Fruit Machine – plus the broadsheet, Eden alongside more than 20 albums with The Church (not to mention the myriad other side and solo projects), Kilbey has more than proved his literary credentials. 1992’s Priest=Aura album was a turning point in my own personal history. The albums dense textures and sublime lyricism turned me inside out and set me off in search of poetry. I could have chosen any one of the songs from this album but for now, I will settle with the fragile beauty of Swan Lake.

One night your shoulders will ache
But next day when you wake
You’ll sprout wild wings, and fly high
Just like in Swan Lake

(complete lyrics here)

And for everyone in Australia, don’t forget the band is touring nationally throughout November. Full tour dates are listed on the band’s website.

 

Advertisements

10 Comments

Filed under who listens to the radio?

(Near) Perfect Books of Poetry

The good folks over at Lilliput Review have been compiling a list of perfect or near perfect books of poetry and it has now reached the 200 mark.

You can check out the list here: http://lilliputreview.googlepages.com/nearperfectbooksofpoems

Many of the books on the list are books that have had a huge influence on me: Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Collected Greed Parts 1 – 13 by Diane Wakoski, 100 Poems from the Chinese tr. by Kenneth Rexroth and Poet in New York by Federico Garcia Lorca to name a few.

There are many books on the list I have never read (aaahhh to have the time to read everything I want) and there are of course many titles that I feel should be listed. After all, it wouldn’t be a list if you didn’t want to add to it!

So here are 5 suggestions from me…

On Love and Barley by Basho tr. by Lucien Stryk

The Best of Henri by Adrian Henri

The Clean Dark by Robert Adamson

Radiant Silhouette by John Yau; and

The Three Way Tavern by Ko Un

 

Each of these collections has had a profound impact on me and I could go on and list more, but I would love to hear which books of poetry you feel deserve to be on the list. So, please add your list of titles in the comments section and feel free to tell us why.

Look forward to hearing from you…

11 Comments

Filed under poetry & publishing

To Kerouac, in Heaven

I was following a Kerouac thread yesterday (March 12 being the anniversary of his birthday an all) and wound my way over to Issa’s Untidy Hut where I discovered this absolute gem of a piece from Jack Micheline, titled ‘Letter to Kerouac in Heaven’.

 

micheline

 

It is taken from Micheline’s most recent volume, One of  a Kind, published by Ugly Duckling Presse.

Micheline is a truly Beat voice. His work is open, free and alive.

Read his Letter to Kerouac here: http://lilliputreview.blogspot.com/2009/02/letter-to-kerouac-in-heaven-jack.html

And for all of you up for a bit of Kerouac news, it seems there will be another new work published later this year titled The Sea is My Brother, written during his time as a Merchant Seaman. Apparantly it pre-dates Town and the City. Will be interesting to read such an early Kerouac voice.

4 Comments

Filed under poetry & publishing

Lost in Translation – haiku by Basho and Buson

My recent interview with Kirk Marshall, editor of bi-lingual literary journal Red Leaves has had me reading widely about the art of translating poetry.

There are many that say poetry defies translation. In her essay, Translating Poetry, Erna Bennett says:

Poetry … is a music of words, and is a way of seeing and interpreting the world and our experience of it, and of conveying to the listener a heightened awareness of it through an intense concentration of metaphor and words in which the natural flow of speech sounds is moulded to some kind of formal pattern. Such patterns can never be the same after the act of translation.

So what then is a translator to do?

Well I liked Willis Barnstone’s take on this question in his An ABC of Translating Poetry

Translation of poetry is conceivable. A translation dwells in imperfection, using equivalents and shunning mechanical replicas–which is the dream of literalists who believe in truth. It gives us the other. Or under another name it gives us itself.

Whichever way you look at it, translating poetry is a difficult art.

I have always been fascinated by the various translations of haiku, particularly, Basho’s famous frog haiku. Some of them adding to the depth of my love for this incredible image, others fueling my distrust of translation (or at least the translator).

I recently found this page showcasing 31 translations (with a commenatry) of said haiku. It illustrates perfectly (or should that be imperfectly?) the varying nature of translation.

Read here:

http://www.bopsecrets.org/gateway/passages/basho-frog.htm

I also found these translations of Buson’s temple bell/butterfly haiku, which provide further insight into the nature of translation.

Read here:

http://lilliputreview.blogspot.com/2009/02/butterfly-and-moth-redux-buson-and.html

After many readings of these haiku, the words of Willis Barnstone were ringing in my ears…

A translator operates in the unknown. To choose the unknown path risks loss–and often brings gain.

8 Comments

Filed under poetry & publishing