There was plenty of music-making on the island this summer. At various times there was guitar, piano, oboe, flute, recorder, banjo, violin, cello, harmonica, and ukulele. Will practiced his oboe for hours each day, and at the end of the last week got together with three of his cousins for a read-through of Bach's oboe and violin concerto. The Log Cabin Strummers, featuring various aunts and uncles on ukuleles, treated us to a sing-along of oldies from the 1920s and earlier. And, best of all, there was a stunning all-cousin performance of a medley of songs for my brother- and sister-in-law's 30th anniversary.
Peter was an eager volunteer at the kitchen sink after dinner, because it gave him an excuse to play his own music on the boom box. As often happens, there was one CD in his rotation that stood out for me. This time it was Blitzen Trapper's 2008 album, Furr. You can listen to the album here on Pitchfork.com. Singer and songwriter Eric Earley manages to channel Bob Dylan, Alex Chilton, and the sounds of the 1970s, while still coming across as fresh and exciting and original. Will called the opening track, "Sleepytime in the Western World," a collection of "all of the catchiest cadences" in rock. The 1970s influences are unmistakable; even the band's logo looks like the kind of thing that was drawn endlessly on school notebooks in the 70s.
Here's the band's video for the title track, "Furr."
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...