The “First Readings” series continues with five initial takes on Cecil Taylor’s poem “#6.56” from his album Chinampas (1987). Each entry in the series consists of five such short first readings; we have asked Michael Farrell, Gillian White, Tsitsi Jaji, Donato Mancini, and Jake Marmer to respond to the Taylor piece. First Readings coeditors Brian Reed, Al Filreis, and Craig Dworkin are pleased now to present short essays by Michael Farrell and Jake Marmer, with three others to follow.
The first thing I’m concerned with when hearing a poem read, especially if there’s no text in hand, which of course I can’t tell in this case, is the manner of the poet’s speaking: their pronunciation, phrasing, rhetorical emphasis, tone, accent, cadence, etc. Do they let their words speak, or do they tell us how meaningful each word is by their emphasis? Do they sound completely phony through trying to sound sincere? With a sound poem this is less of an issue; yet I’m still listening for cliché, something I’m less expert at perceiving, however, having heard less sound poetry than spoken word. I’m also more familiar with experimental improvised music than with (free) jazz as such, and I’m not even sure what their connection is. I couldn’t hear a lot of the words Taylor said at the beginning.
Pam Brown's recent gigantic feature for Jacket2 titled "51 Contemporary Poets from Australia" had a ghostly foreshadowing a year or so ago, in Pam's "Rewriting Australia" feature in Jacket 39, where some Australian poets wrestle with their poetic forebears. Banjo Paterson shows up as a punching bag several times, perhaps because he is an old, dead, conservative white male with his portrait on the Australian ten dollar bill.
[»»]Pam Brown: Rewriting Canonical Australian Poems: Introduction [»»]David Brooks: Cracks in the Fray: Re-reading ‘The Man From Snowy River’ [»»]Justin Clemens: Dürer: Innsbruck 1495 [»»]Michael Farrell: the king [»»]Michael Farrell: Anti-Clockwise Judith Wright: A ‘Widdershins’ Reading of ‘Bullocky’ [»»]Duncan Hose: Blue Hill 404 [»»]Banjo Paterson: The Man From Snowy River; John Tranter: Snowy [»»]David Prater: Three poems: Red Dawn Ward / Oz / “The Campfires of the Lost”