The house was reasonable, not crowded. That was to be expected. What I hadn't expected was four poets instead of the usual mix of poetry, fiction, perhaps non-fiction. I hadn't paid any attention to the publicity; I just figured it would be, for me, a good antidote to the most over-hyped football game of the year.But there was a magic that happened that night. I don't know if it was simply my percxeption or if it was shared by others, and that doesn't matter. This is what happened for me.
Each poet read from his own work, with his own voice, on his own themes. I realize that. What struck me was that the "voices" of these four poets, not the physical but the metaphysical, the presentation of the poetry blended so well. Each one, reading in his own space, became part of a common blend, a meld. Within me the whole experience became something other. The material, the personalities, the presentations, all seemed to build one on the other. At the end of the evening I knew something different had happened but was unsure of what it could be.
I thought I could compare it to a voice quartet, a barbershop piece perhaps, but that didn't quite fit. I was nosing through my recordings yesterday and came across something I hadn't listened to in many years. In the late 60s, early 70s, I was intrigued by an artist named Sandy Bull and how he layered different tones and instrumenst into one rich and full performance. I listened and recognized that what he had recorded musically had happened in my head and soul with sound and poetry. The realization provided a structure, a frame for this enigmatic happening, an anchor to hold it close as part of my personal knowledge.
God, let me never lose this memory.