Boiler House video/soundscape

From my birthday post at MASS MoCA in October:

I did a walking meditation in the John Cage/Merce Cunningham Bridge with its current sound installation, In Harmonicity, the Tonal Walkway, by Julianne Swartz. For the second time this week, the art has brought me back to my first semester of music theory at Smith, as the installation is a form of musique concrète. The 13:40 minute loop is composed entirely of recorded human voices. This work inspired Marilyn McCabe, the Boiler House poet who conceived and produced our collaborative videopoem last year, to envision a sound project this year. We each recorded a short segment based on a single word for her today. Stay tuned for the final product when it is available.

And now, introducing the completed video/soundscape!

Boiler House Voices: Truck Shadow Muscular Tunnel Window Hoosic Resurrection Flow from Mar McCabe on Vimeo.

Marilyn asked each of us to choose a single word that represented our reunion week. I chose the word “flow.” We each recorded our chosen word for Marilyn in several ways, including saying the word slowly, three times in quick succession, and sung. Marilyn then spent many hours with her computer, cutting up words, overlaying them, mixing sounds, and constructing the soundscape. I can’t pretend to know how she did it, but some of the techniques would have been similar to those used in the Julianne Swartz piece that inspired the endeavor.

Then, Marilyn assembled the video element. Most of the photos are from the Boiler House. I especially love the parts of the video that involve layering of the images, such as the dancing silhouette and the photo of the eight of us taken this year looking out from where some of the Boiler House windows used to be.

I love Marilyn’s creativity and inventiveness, which is always expanding my sense of what is possible. You should all do yourselves a favor and click on the links above the video to see more of Marilyn’s work with videopoems. You can also visit and follow Marilyn here on WordPress at O Write: Marilynonaroll’s blog.

Comments are welcome here or at the Vimeo link.

Shadow, shadow, shadow. Window.   Flow.

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Beyond the Moon and Stars

I hadn’t planned to post again today, having written a long post which is an open letter to the electors of the United States electoral college, but we sang this at church this morning and I wanted to share.

Well, T who was with me, was singing. I tried to, but wound up mouthing a lot of the words because I was crying too much to sing.

Heart of the Arts reading video!

Some of you may recall my secret poetry mission to write and present a poem in honor of Emily Jablon and Peg Johnston for the 2016 Heart of the Arts award ceremony. I was invited to participate by the Binghamton Poetry Project, because they receive funding from the United Cultural Fund, which is the grant-bestowing branch of the Broome County Arts Council.

I am excited to share the video of me reading the poem at the dinner. The video was taken from a distance and I am mostly obscured by the podium, but the sound is good. The title got a bit cut off; it is “Thanks to the Department of Public Art.” The diction is pretty good. There are only a few words that are hard to understand – but I, of course, know what I am saying, so feel free to chime in if you have any presentation points for me. I’m not used to reading with a mike or in a large room. It’s rare for community poets like me to get this kind of opportunity and I am very grateful to the Binghamton Poetry Project and the Broome County Arts Council for making it possible.

I also want to thank my spouse B and my daughter T for keeping me (somewhat) calm at the event. I will share that B’s favorite word from the poem is “tessellate.” I don’t know that I will ever write another poem where that is an appropriate word choice, but at least I have done it once!

I am hoping to publish the poem in the fall anthology of the Binghamton Poetry Project; after that, I will share the text here at Top of JC’s Mind.

I hope you enjoy the video! Comments are welcome here or on the Top of JC’s Mind Facebook Page.

 

Videopoem from the Boiler House!

I am thrilled to share with you a new videopoem from the Boiler House Poets!

During our recent reunion residency at the Studios at MASS MoCA, we collaborated on a poem about our beloved Boiler House and each recorded her own lines.

Marilyn McCabe, one of our stalwart Boiler House Poets who has experience with videopoems, graciously handled all the photography and editing to produce the amazing final product.

Enjoy!

Last MASS MoCA moments

I posted my final MASS MoCA reunion poetry residency piece right before the Boiler House Poets’ last lunch together, but wanted to add a postscript.

The marvelous Marilyn McCabe had already completed a first draft of our Boiler House videopoem and gave us a viewing before we departed.

It looks fantastic and I am anxious to share it with you all, which I will do as soon as Marilyn puts the finishing touches on it and releases it to the public.

Stay tuned!

Poem for the Boiler House Poets!

I am so excited to share this blog post from my poet-friend Gail Dimaggio!

Gail is one of the Boiler House Poets, the inaugural group of poets who gathered at MASS MoCA for a poetry residency in collaboration with Tupelo Press. It was my privilege to be part of this intrepid group of nine poets who shared an amazing, complex, rich, and creative week together.

This month, Gail is participating in the 30/30 fundraiser for Tupelo Press. She is among a group of poets writing and posting a new poem every day. Poems and sponsorship information is available here:  https://tupelopress.wordpress.com/3030-project/.

Today is day 11 and Gail has posted a poem that I sponsored, asking her to write about our experience together. She wrote an amazing poem using the technique of found poetry, in which the poet uses words from another source to create a new work. Here, Gail uses fragments of poems from the Boiler House Poets’ video in her poem “Poets Gather in the Boiler House to Read Their Work”.

Most of the Boiler House Poets will be gathering this fall for a reunion at MASS MoCA. Gail and I will both be there.

I can hardly wait!

SoCS: art, poetry, and 30/30

Last November, I attended my first-ever poetry residency/workshop/conference at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, known as MASS MoCA. It was held in conjunction with Tupelo Press, a non-profit independent press located just down the road in the Eclipse Mill loft.

It was amazing, difficult, intense, valuable, exhausting, overwhelming, and dozens of other adjectives. (Poets don’t use many adjectives. Bloggers are allowed.) Anyone who would like to read more about my experience can check out the November 2015 posts in my archive.

One of the many lasting benefits is that I have written a series of poems about art. I had written a few before that residency, but not nearly as many as afterward. There is a fancy name for poems about art, ekphrastic. Note:  spell check does not know what to do with the word ekphrastic.

Some of these poems, along with other poems about North Adams, the city where MASS MoCA is located, and the surrounding towns, will become my first-ever-attempt-at a poetry collection.

It’s complicated.

I grew up in a town about twenty miles from North Adams and went to high school in North Adams. We went there to shop and to visit relatives. The city has changed a lot over the years. I’ve changed a lot over the years. The poems deal with generations of our family, small towns and a small city, home, change, geography, and art.

It’s a lot.

It’s also a new experience.

I am about to print the poems that are completed and assemble them into sections and a manuscript, leaving space for some poems that aren’t yet written. I’ll look for holes that need to be filled.  And try to fill them.

I am hoping to have a reasonable working draft by the time our group of poets, who were the first group to experience the Mass MoCA/Tupelo collaboration, return for a reunion residency in October.

We call ourselves the Boiler House Poets, after an art/sound installation at MASS MoCA where we made a video of us reading poems.

I am giving a shout-out here to one of the Boiler House Poets, Gail Dimaggio, who is embarking on another exciting collaboration with Tupelo Press. She will be one of their 30/30 poets in August. She and a small group of poets will each write a new poem every day for thirty days, which will be posted on a special section of the Tupelo Press website. Everyone is invited to follow along! Gail has a new blog to accompany her journey:  https://gaildi.blogspot.com/.

Come join the poetry/blogging fun!
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “art.” Come join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2016/07/29/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-3016/

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