Snow is everything. I guess that’s okay.
Before that happened Abby cut my hair in her kitchen. I said I liked the striped apron on her wall and she played this.
I’d never heard of Andrea Gibson. Her voice = church hand chimes. Abby lent me her book Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, which I’ve just now gotten around to reading because you know, things, but I remember reading the first poem,“Pole Dancer,” and hearing instruments more than seeing words. A little like this:
It was a strange, 100% positive thing that what words and how words made me forget there were words at all, instead of trumpet blare glow. With good writing, I usually want to kiss words on the mouth, not forget them; poetry usually makes me uber-aware of language and stay right there with it. But music like Sigur Ros does something similar to “Pole Dancer” and some other pieces in Pole Dancing: creates a place that almost makes you forget you’re in a song, though that place wouldn’t be there without it.
As I read, I’m noticing one line is YES ABSOLUTELY and the next is THIS IS GETTING A LITTLE HALLMARK, so I’ve been pulling Gibson’s performances up on Youtube to compare seeing to hearing. It is spoken word poetry after all, which I only recently realized is kind of a dirty word, I guess? I’ve been asked what I think of spoken word, and I think like everything ever it can be HO YES or MY BAD – depends. I’ve just heard people talk about all uneasy like there’s an asterisk floating next to it, like not “real” poetry or something etc. etc. etc.
I think I understand some of that sentiment in that what Gibson does feels like a different category of aesthetic whatever than “normal” poetry (I’M JUST GONNA GO AHEAD AND APOLOGIZE FOR THAT INSUFFICIENT BUT I-HOPE-YOU-KNOW-WHAT-I-MEAN-THERE LABELING), but its relationship to music/sound makes it such a different experience than reading this or this that a direct comparison doesn’t seem fair. I’m not sure yet how I feel about her language, because not only is hearing her like instruments, but her words live somewhere between poetry and lyrics, which get me to a place of aesthetic YES in different ways. Lyrics on a page can have line breaks that would seem simplistic/rigid/overwrought for poetry, but result in words placed on top of a chord progression in a way that creates emotional depth/meaning/etc. etc. etc., which is fascinating and good to me, that accompanying media let us experience the same text in ways that feel vastly different.
What I mean is, I’m figuring out how my respective ways of perceiving oohs-and-aahs in poetry and music can blend to best appreciate a spoken word artist/poet like Gibson. I know I’ve rambled all-aesthetic and haven’t said a thing about the historical/political/moral content of her work, which is a whole nother monster. I might try to wrestle it at some point; it seems worth doing.
hot chocolate + kahlua.