Album Review

In Their Own Voices : a Century of Recorded Poetry [coll] – [Rhino Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/2/2019   A Library, CD

112 poems, 80 poets. Some get a double dose, a few a triple dip. David Ignatow has five, but who’s counting? Not T.S. Eliot who resides elsewhere in KFJC’s library, like several on here and left off this 1996 collection. Life, like this collection, is finite. Dear Reader, wth bending and bleeding ear observantly you saw the title, before the poem started, so you know you are getting the mind and the mouth of every poet here. In some cases, an audience joins in the fray, frothing with Ferlinghetti, or goosing on Ginsberg while he gooses himself, drinking with Bukowski in his latter well-toasted years. A few others mix music with their musings, Kerouac and sax of course joined at the hep. Zimmer quiets a piano, later lists out musicians and poets and even doffs his cap to Roberto Clemente and Thurman Munson. Leonard Cohen stings his song with a folk phalanx in close formation. Amiri Baraka punctuates his “Shazam Doowah” with “oh-wahwahs” as only he could. The oration styles are pretty fascinating.
There IS a LOT of that poetic PAUSE and PUSH.
but so much more.
Defter DJ mixers perhaps can beat match orator’s cadence and techno tempos. The collection is well stitched, clever connections for those who might listen from Vol 1 through to Vol 4. We are told to go neither Gentle nor Naked into the good night, Mark Strand summons Wallace Stevens. Fancy queens follow each other, with the phenomenal Maya Angelou going first. Many of the poets are long gone (the collection starts with Whitman and Yeats speaking beyond the cemetery gates), and quite a few have died since this came out on CD (a medium itself spinning towards its own demise?) Surely the majority knew the price of mortality and it fueled their creation, they aimed to have their words live on, but with this release, their voices do as well
-Thurston Hunger

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