Po'Girl: Diona Davies, Trish Klein, Awna Teixiera, and Allison Russell.
Not counting the year in Kenilworth (52° 20' N), I’ve lived my entire life in the frosty latitudes between 41° 17' N (Oberlin, Ohio) and 44° 27' N (Northfield, Minnesota)—the latitudes of maple and oak, apple orchards, glacial landforms, and accents flattening out toward Canada. Because of my narrow geographical experience, my imagination has always been drawn northwards and southwards, to the imaginary geography of Canada and the South. Some of my favorite music these days comes out of Vancouver, British Columbia, and the interconnected group of women who make up The Be Good Tanyas and Po'Girl. It’s music that looks south for many of its influences—blues, country, and bluegrass—but it’s more authentic and heartfelt than almost anything coming out of Nashville. If you have iTunes, go to the music store now and drop 99¢ to download the song “Take the Long Way,” from Po’ Girl’s 2004 CD Vagabond Lullabies. The song has everything that makes Po’ Girl so extraordinary: the beautiful, soulful voice of Allison Russell; gorgeous melodies; traditional folk instruments like guitar and fiddle; and unexpected elements like Russell’s clarinet and the hip-hop poetry and beat boxing of C.R. Avery. All the elements come together to create a beautiful and satisfyingly original whole.
Po’Girl’s latest CD is Home to You, released in February 2007 on Nettwerk Records.
My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .
The frontispiece from Countee Cullen's The Black Christ and Other Poems (1929). Illustration by Charles Cullen. Click to enlarge. On...
Here's the poem I wrote and read for the student-organized International Day of Peace gathering in Bridge Square on Wednesday, Septembe...
In early August, the director of the Northfield Public Library, Teresa Jensen, asked me to write a poem to be displayed prominently in the...