Amoeblog

Happy 90th birthday Ken Nordine!!

Posted by Whitmore, April 13, 2010 11:11pm | Post a Comment

You may not know it, but you do know Ken Nordine, and you know him well. His deep resonant, baritone voice, gritty in a perfect kind of way, has sliced through television and radio ads for decades now. But you should know him for his "word jazz." He recorded his first Word Jazz album back in 1957, backed by the Chico Hamilton band. Nordine’s pieces play in the common -- words, bopping and shifting, wit pedaling to and fro in between the everyday bits of everyday life nimbly budging the predictable out of the way. Colorful is the perfect adjective, absurd is another word that should have a turn here too. Mundane is not in his vocabulary.

Anyway, today the legendary wordsmith is 90 years old -- Happy Birthday, Ken Nordine!






A Thanksgiving Prayer, William S. Burroughs

Posted by Whitmore, November 26, 2009 09:15pm | Post a Comment

rhyme or reason not necessary

Posted by Whitmore, October 11, 2009 11:11pm | Post a Comment

This past week in Great Britain, in honor of their National Poetry Day, the BBC commissioned a poll to name Britain’s favorite poet. And oddly enough they chose the great American writer T.S. Eliot, best known for his landmark poems The Wasteland and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The 1948 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Eliot was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but moved to England in his mid twenties where eventually he became a British citizen.
 
According to the BBC, more than 18,000 people voted online. Eliot won by a narrow margin, just ahead of John Donne, the 16th and 17th Century metaphysical poet, with Benjamin Zephaniah coming in third. Zephaniah was the only living poet on the list. Born in 1958, he is a Rastafarian dub poet who last year was included in The Times' list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers. Coming in fourth was Wilfred Owen, the First World War poet who was killed in action at the Battle of the Sambre just a week before the war ended, and rounding out the Top Five was Philip Larkin, who was also renowned as a novelist and a jazz critic.
 
Many in academia’s hierarchy were a bit perturbed by the lack of rhyme or reason to the top ten finishers. No John Milton or W. H. Auden (maybe because he became an American citizen) or Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney or Ted Hughes or even this old guy named Shakespeare. Most of the great Romantic poets were also shut out: William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Carol Ann Duffy, the current Poet Laureate of Britain, didn’t make the top ten, nor did Rudyard Kipling, who back in 1995 was named Britain’s favorite poet.
 
The rest in the exclusively male top ten include William Blake, William Butler Yeats, John Betjeman, John Keats and Dylan Thomas.
 
According to those carrying out the BBC poll, for several months Wilfred Owen led in the voting, most likely reflecting the concerns over the rise of UK soldiers killed in Afghanistan this past summer. But very surprisingly, in the last few weeks, Eliot and The Wasteland pulled it out in the end.
 
While the results of the poll demonstrated a growing interest in contemporary poetry and that classic poetry still seems to have a strange hold on reader’s affections, the National Poetry Day event and Top Ten list comes on the heels of a survey conducted by the UK Literacy Association that found more than half of primary school teachers could name no more than two poets.


Happy Birthday John Winston Lennon!

Posted by Whitmore, October 9, 2009 09:31pm | Post a Comment

About the Awful

I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madalf Heatlump (Who had only one). Anyway, they didn't get me. I attended to varicous schools in Liddypol. And still didn't pass-much to my Aunties supplies. As a memebr of the most publified Beatles me and (P, G, and R's) records might seem funnier to some of you than this book, but as far as I'm conceived this correction of short writty is the most wonderfoul larf I've ever ready.
God help and breed you all.
 
A Reason for Breathing


I pictured myself on a boat on a river with tangerine trees and nervous dysplasia. This was to be the final chapter in my life savings. I pulled the plug and boarded an Amtrak to nowhere. I had suffered insomnia all my life, but, like Isaac Newton, had put it down to apples. It was hereditary (so was my forehead). I wished to remain anonymous in a world of Philadelphians. I ticked myself off and put myself in my place, a two-bedroomed brownstone of ill repute. I was convinced I'd been here before. Call it what you will, I call it daft. Had I walked these same dusty springfields before? Or was I just a victim of circumnavigation? Yea, tho' I walk thru Rudy Valle, I will fear no Evel Knievel. Junk food made me silly; fast food slowed me down; I had to get off at the next stop. I alighted to the sound of a military bandit.

"Do you take this woman anywhere in particular?" the voice rang out. I panicked slowly and continued to exercise my discretion.
 
Interview

Question: How do you write your books?
Lennon: I put things down on sheets of paper and stuff them in me pockets. When I have enough, I have a book.
Question: Why do you kill people off in your books?
Lennon: That's a good way to end them. I suppose they were manifestations of hidden cruelties. They were very Alice in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh. I was very hung up then. I got rid of a lot of that. It was my version of what was happening then. It was just the usual criticisms, as some critic put it.
Question: What were you really trying to say in your book? Why don't people understand it?
Lennon: I understand it. If I wrote in normal spelling there would be no point. I'm not saying anything. There is no message.

Letter to Stuart Sutcliffe, 1961
 
I can't remember anything without a sadness
So deep that it hardly becomes known to me
So deep that its tears leave me a spectator of my own stupidity.

Looking North to the Future. It’ll be good.

Posted by Whitmore, July 28, 2009 10:30am | Post a Comment

I have a recollection, probably faulty, of some TV character, dressed as a beatnik, on a mid seventies sitcom reciting a beat poem. And the poem went something like, “little puppy with your nose pressed up against the pet store window, there is no puppy food for you today ... only death.” I found it hysterical.
 
As some people know, I’m a modern poetry fan, and I’m even a bigger fan of beat poetry, even with all its occasionally preposterous immoderations. But what I really live for is faux beat poetry. Years ago an old friend of mine read a pumpkin pie recipe as a beat poem; it was the most illuminating piece of prose I have ever heard ... until now. Here is Sarah Palin’s farewell speech read by the ultimate hepcat, William Shatner.

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