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Posts Tagged ‘music’

Poetry Friday: “The Music before the Music”

By Jeanne Murray WalkerJanuary 19, 2018

It is often hard to find the language to describe the sounds and impact of a piece of music. In “The Music before the Music” we encounter horns that “plow and plant Beethoven’s/great fields,” “the brash cymbal,” “the wigged-out chug of a bass viol.” In this loud and layered poem, Jeanne Murray Walker uses precisely…

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Listening to My Life: 17 Listens for 2017

By Joel Heng HartseDecember 29, 2017

First, a note: I think this might be the last time I do this. If you’ve followed my writing about music for the last twenty years (in which case you are my mother, so thanks) you’ve heard me say things like this off and on for at least the last ten, so I don’t mean…

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Still on the Line

By A.G. HarmonSeptember 7, 2017

I will not claim credit for many things, but one virtue I own is that you can’t make me disloyal to that which I’ve grown attached. Even in my youth, when it was very important to me that I like what everyone else liked, I would not detach myself from that to which I had…

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Dark Forest on Fire

By Natalie VestinSeptember 5, 2017

“We’ve got five years, that’s all we’ve got,” sang Ziggy Stardust forty-five years ago. Did people feel a prickling in 1977, as if Bowie might be prophet? It’s not so hard to believe. Do people ever forget to fear burning to death once they’ve imagined burning in their beds, under their desks, in their basements?…

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Guns N’ Roses in This Lifetime

By Bryan BlissAugust 10, 2017

The first time I encountered Guns N’ Roses, it was a flag hanging on the bedroom wall of a kid I barely knew. You’ve likely seen the image—a cross, adorned with representative skulls for each member of the band. I hadn’t heard Appetite for Destruction at that point, but I knew this was something to…

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A Prayer for Kendrick Lamar

By Nick OlsonJune 15, 2017

It occurs to me each time I listen to Kendrick Lamar’s new album, Damn: The award winning and much celebrated rapper laments over and over that he feels like nobody’s praying for him. It’s his greatest fear. I’m not sure you can listen casually to a Lamar album. Each song demands attention to every word.…

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Sufjan Stevens’ Planetarium in Paradise

By Adam Tyler HornJune 9, 2017

When Dante finally sees Beatrice near the end of the Purgatorio, he quotes Virgil’s Aeneid in the presence of his guide, Virgil himself. “I know the signs of that ancient flame,” he exclaims, transforming Dido’s doomed hailing of Aeneas into a renewed celebration of Beatrice as Beatitude, as icon of God instead of fetishized lost…

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Poetry Friday: “The Key”

By Alice FrimanMay 26, 2017

I love this poem for its exuberance. The fat bee, “big as a blackberry,” bumping heavily against the pane. The impossibility of an acorn’s power. The very idea of “infant waterfalls.” Each vivid, particular thing of beauty from the natural world that Friman presents to us bears itself simply and humbly—yet appears remarkable when dressed…

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Epiphany in the Memory Unit

By Cameron Dezen HammonFebruary 16, 2017

The priest’s wife handed me her half full can of beer. It was Christmastime, and the beer she was offering was a Texas IPA, sweating seductively on the table between us. I brought the can to my lips and the slightly bitter taste of the half-warm beer filled me with relief. I needed a drink.…

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A Song of Songs for These American Days

By Richard ChessJanuary 4, 2017

With thanks and apologies to the Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Emily Dickinson, Neil Young, Wallace Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, the Wailin’ Jennys, Randy Newman, Bob Dylan, God, Joni Mitchell, Bob Marley, Paul Simon, Tom Waits, Sam Baker, The Band, Bruce Cockburn, The Grateful Dead, Richie Havens, and all the musicians and poets who have sustained and nourished…

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