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FW: April 17: Albert Murray [author, Alabama native]

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  • A.J. Wright
    fyi...Murray is an Alabama native...this poem was distributed as part of pubilsher Alfred A. Knopf s participation in National Poetry Month, which is
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 23, 2002
      fyi...Murray is an Alabama native...this poem was distributed as part of
      pubilsher Alfred A. Knopf's participation in National Poetry Month, which is
      April...aj wright // ajwright@...

      -----Original Message-----
      From: knopfpoetry [mailto:webmaster@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, April 17, 2002 9:00 AM
      To: ajwright@...
      Subject: April 17: Albert Murray

      2 by Albert Murray -- Murray is author of many fiction and nonfiction
      titles, along with the long poem TRAIN WHISTLE GUITAR -- the poems below
      are from his new collection of poems, CONJUGATIONS AND REITERATIONS.


      Private Stock

      the syncopating monk
      whose preferred cloistersphere
      seemed to be the misty morning atmosphere
      of the after hours joint
      from which the last of the nightlong
      merrymakers have departed.
      in all events
      he almost always used to seem
      to be resampling his honky-tonk piano
      meditations and up-tempo stride time etudes
      as much for his own private edification
      as for the programmed entertainment
      of any paying audience
      indeed thelonius made music
      as some monks have always made
      and shared wine:
      here's something else to my taste
      try this
      how about this

      Pas de Deux

      all art,
      said old water pater,
      speaking of sandro botticelli,
      constantly aspires
      toward the condition
      of music.
      so it is swing
      that is the supreme fiction,
      (given the concreteness
      of physical experience per se)
      our primary concern
      is the quality of our consciousness
      (how we feel about it all)
      and swing, which is movement
      and countermovement
      which is life itself,
      is that elegant resilience
      that poetry would reenact,
      its verbalization being
      aesthetic kinetics!
      after all, madam
      (or rather first of all),
      is not the primordial function
      of verbal enchantment
      the refinement
      of our physical responses?
      the objective of poetry
      is to be moving, madam,
      poetry is the supreme effort
      to make words swing.
      but according to vico,
      (giambattista, 1668-1744)
      before articulation
      became narration
      there was only exclamation
      along with pantomime
      yes, as jamesjoyce came to know
      and kennethburke came to say,
      poetry is symbolic action
      and symbolic action,
      is the dancing of an attitude,
      and dance, madam,
      don't mean a thing
      minus the insouciant element
      of swing
      there's your supreme fiction, madam,
      it ain't waht you do it's the way that you do it.

      it must never
      be more gynastic
      than elegant


      swinging is never uptight,
      my good fellow,
      no sweat, my man,
      cool, old pardner,
      up-tempo relaxation
      as it were, moreover,
      given the inevitability
      of entropy
      and the ineluctable modality
      of perception
      and thus conception
      swinging is not only
      the most elegant mathematical
      it is also
      the best revenge

      Copyright (c) 2002
      by Albert Murray


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