Sunday, March 08, 2009

Joe Sent Me-poetry & Intangible Culture

"...the sense of here/not here, this want of places to
be, enter & make
Barry McKinnon, from Two from In the Millennium

I've always loved the sounds of words, but words mean nothing until and unless meaning is provided or attached. The beauty of Poetry is that meaning can be sensed, gleaned, inferred, intuited, without the necessity of being fully understood. Poets love to tease out meaning from fleeting things - the evanescence of a street lamp on a dusky day, the sense of absence from the low hum of someone's murmurs heard through walls.

A unique element of poetry is its ability to compress and condense feeling, as well as its portability & flexibility: it can be transferred, translated & transmitted, it fulfills our need for immutability as well as intangibility. Perhaps the reason Poetry continues to thrive throughout the ages is that it fits into Primary as well as Secondary Oral Traditions. And while, at its core, a poem consists of words in one form or another, a great poem speaks to everyone and is appreciated equally by the theoriser and blogger. In the final analysis, a poem is apprehended not by applied knowledge but by the totality of its essence.

While I'm drawn to the intimacy of a poem on the page, I've always loved to hear a poem as it is intoned by its author. One of the aspects of technology that I love is its ability to re-contextualize a song or a poem, and while the debate rages about Poetry's place within the truly unruly realm of the Web, on needs only to look back at the invention of the typewriter to see its effect on the generation of Dada Poets who contemporaneously harnessed and applied its potentialities to an infinite and ever-expanding degree.

I've conceived of JOE SENT ME-poetry as part of a living document, where each poem takes on a life of its own outside of the writer and the written hand. As a featured guest of Barcelona Poesia 2008, I created JOE SENT ME @ BarcelonaPoesia2008 to reflect the way my mind reconstructs my experience of Barcelona, the vibrant clash of its cultures and co-mingling of languages live and breath in my memory in a a vivid and tangible way.

I wanted to flesh out the tonal & vocal nuances of some of the spoken poems on JOE SENT ME, which led to my collaboration with sound & visual artist Raul Vincent Enriquez who shed his sonic insight into THE HOOK and LOVE LIVES IN THE DARK; Bruno Galindo, who shaped flawless & beautiful Spanish translations of THE HOOK & LOVE LIVES IN THE DARK; and Daniel Sisla, fellow guest poet at the Barcelona Poesia 2008, who has so perceptively and impeccably created Catalan translations of LOVE LIVES IN THE DARK, DREAM, and INTO THE NIGHT (both not included on the album). The poems on JOE SENT ME were recorded by Greta Byrum who shared her ear & expertise with their recording at Recorded Books, New York City.

The aim for these pages is to break down each poem into its component parts:







The internet provides the perfect vehicle for the nuances of poetry, for the transportation of its substance & essence, for the transmission of its message through time. For me, raw computer coding languages hold within them pure poetic potential: the hope is to shape new ways of perceiving technology and its relation to language, music, things remembered, things heard, reflection, recollection and the spoken word.

For further excursions into intangible realms, visit:

Drunken Boat



Weird Deer

Year Zero One

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