I won’t take much time today in presenting another short 90-second musical piece I composed. I also wrote the text for today’s composition, which isn’t the normal thing here. One of our principles is “Other People’s Stories” — we try to emphasize the value of a variety of poetic expression and what it’s like to encounter that. It’s not like I discourage the writing of more poetry, I only wish to increase the engaged reader side of the equation and to pay tribute to traditions that I draw from when writing or composing.
I’ve been reading this month a new book by poet and teacher Lesley Wheeler: Poetry’s Possible Worlds. It’s a fine and enjoyable example of that sort of thing hosted inside another mind and lifetime. Wheeler takes 12 not-particularly-well-known contemporary poems and applies care, consideration, and her life’s own insight to them. This would be a different book if these poems were Contemporary English Language Poetry Greatest Hits. Such another book could have value — but it would be more about known worlds with existing maps and pins already placed. This book does something else more uniquely valuable.
Because we perform the poems we present in the Parlando Project, we must breathe inside them. Poetry’s chest inflates when you do that. Wheeler’s book makes each of these poems a sibling, cousin, co-worker, friend, parent, or child — those who we encounter life beside and together with.
One last thing I want to stress about this book: it’s entirely approachable. While Wheeler has written elsewhere as a scholar, and I have one of her books in that line that I’m anticipating reading this summer, this is a book about life and poetry looking at each other that doesn’t require any prerequisite classes. Middle-aged people and above may particularly appreciate “Poetry’s Possible Worlds” due to the life events encountered, but not every young person is uncurious about life-planets they haven’t voyaged to yet. Here’s a link to details in case you want to join me in reading this book.
So, here’s today’s piece, and since it’s called “Generations” you may expect it has something to say about different ages speaking to one another. Read/listen carefully, there’s a little barb in the middle of it.
Is there a Möbius strip inside this one, or just a recognition of how we recall life-lessons when we get older?
Musically, this performance has a benefit from the new orchestral instruments I have available for the rest of the year in the richer French Horn that plays a prominent role. Player gadget below for many, and this backup highlighted link for the rest of you.
Did you come here looking to celebrate Bloomsday? The Parlando Project has got 2 1/2 minutes of your young, concise poetic James Joyce right here.