Aldon Lynn Nielsen

Watches don't shoot (PoemTalk #190)

Aldon Nielsen, 'Tray'

Al Filreis, Tyrone Williams, William J. Harris, and Aldon Nielsen
Al Filreis, Tyrone Williams, William J. Harris, and Aldon Nielsen


Aldon Nielsen, William J. Harris, Tyrone Williams, hosted by Al Filreis, convened in the Arts Café of the Kelly Writers House, before a live audience, to discuss Aldon’s poem “Tray.” There are 29 sections in the poem; the group discussed the first 6. In the book titled Tray, published by Make Now Press in 2017, the title poem takes up the first 37 pages; the sections we discussed run to page 14. Usually, of course, we play an audio recording of the poem from we’re about to discuss as archived in PennSound, but on this day, because we had the honor of Aldon’s presence we asked him to perform those sections.

A review of 'Black Case Volume I and II'

Image courtesy of Blank Forms Editions and After : Still.

Across the decades, the recordings of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, as well as most announcements of their concerts, bore the slogan “Great Black Music: Ancient to the Future.” Some years ago, in the course of a panel on the Ensemble and their history at the University of Chicago that featured Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, and George Lewis, the subject of that slogan and its origins was broached. Asked why that slogan, Jarman quipped, “nobody ever said it was great.” 

we sing looking to ALL the past future masters
to give us clear vision
healing music, GREAT BLACK MUSIC
where we start from finish start finish[1]

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