Tag Archives: POET

Recognizing a counterculture icon Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature

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 counterculture icon

Nobel prize for Literature

  • Bob Dylan performing at a civil rights rally in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Photo: Getty Images

     
  • Bob Dylan and singer Joan Baez in Embankment Gardens, London in 1963. Photo: Getty Images
    Photo: Getty Images

    Bob Dylan and singer Joan Baez in Embankment Gardens, London in 1963. Photo: Getty Images

     
Armed with a harmonica and a guitar, Bob Dylan confronted social injustice, war and racism

Bob Dylan, the surprise winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, became an icon of the 1960s counterculture, but his voice has reached widely and evocatively into the American past.

The author of some of rock’s early anthems such as “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” the poet of pop tapped classic folk and gospel songs to rejuvenate defining US forms of story-telling.

Since early in his career, the 75-year-old singer has experimented with the intersection of the literary and the musical.

In the words of a reviewer in The New York Times, who saw the then 21-year-old perform solo at Town Hall theater in 1963, “Mr. Dylan’s words and melodies sparkle with the light of an inspired poet.”

One of his most celebrated songs, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” features a literary character based on a drummer Dylan knew from the clubs of New York’s Greenwich Village.

“Like a Rolling Stone” tore apart pop convention by going on for more than six minutes, with Dylan’s steady narration and a touch of R&B interrupted by the refrain, “How does it feel?”

“After writing that, I wasn’t interested in writing a novel or a play or anything, like I knew like I had too much. I wanted to write songs,” Dylan said later of the song.

“Desolation Row,” which closed his 1965 album “Highway 61 Revisited,” stretched on for more than 11 minutes and reached into biblical allusions, while referencing the growing tumult in urban America.

“Highway 61 Revisited” itself reflected an American journey, referencing the highway that stretches from Dylan’s home of Minnesota to New Orleans and the homes of the blues in the American South.

The album was part of a massive burst of creativity when in a two-year period Dylan put out three legendary albums, with the other two being “Bringing It All Back Home” and “Blonde on Blonde.”

Rise to stardom

The stardom is all a long way from his humble beginnings as Robert Allen Zimmerman, born in 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota.

He taught himself to play the harmonica, guitar and piano. Captivated by the music of folk singer Woody Guthrie, Zimmerman changed his name to Bob Dylan — reportedly after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas — and began performing in local nightclubs.

After dropping out of college, he moved to New York in 1960. His first album contained only two original songs, but the 1963 breakthrough “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” featured a slew of his own work, including the classic “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Armed with a harmonica and an acoustic guitar, Dylan confronted social injustice, war and racism, quickly becoming a prominent civil rights campaigner — and recording an astonishing 300 songs in his first three years.

His interest in civil rights has persisted and in 1991 he released “Blind Willie McTell,” one of the best-known songs of his late career in which Dylan reflects on slavery through the story of the blues singer of the same name.

In 1965, Dylan also was behind a symbolic turning point in music when he went electric at the Newport Folk Festival, turning on the amplifiers for a stunned audience.

As Dylan toured Europe afterward, he was met with hostility with an audience member in England even denouncing him as “Judas” over the betrayal of his folk roots.

When Dylan afterward played in France, the tensions had become so raw that he even held a news conference with a puppet, to which he would sarcastically put his ear as if seeking counsel to reporters’ questions.

Sound like a frog’

Despite his massive cultural influence, Dylan has remained an enigmatic presence. With his gravelly tone, he has long won acclaim in spite of rather than because of his voice.

“Critics have been giving me a hard time since Day One. Critics say I can’t sing. I croak. Sound like a frog,” Dylan said last year in an unexpected career-spanning speech as he accepted a lifetime award at the Grammys.

His relationship with crowds is borders on indifference to hostile, with Dylan steadfastly refusing to please audiences by rolling out his hits.

Performing Friday at the inaugural Desert Trip festival of rock elders in California, Dylan did not say a word to the crowd and kept his back turned, not allowing overhead footage of him for the majority of the audience that could not see. In one turn that surprised fans, Dylan — raised a secular Jew — became a born-again Christian in the late 1970s after taking up Bible study following his divorce from his first wife, Sara. Dylan soon played down the Christianity, saying his conversion had been hyped by the media that he was agnostic at heart. He raised controversy again when he played in 1985 at the Live Aid concerts for Ethiopian famine relief and told the crowd that he wished “a little bit” of the money could go to American farmers struggling to pay their mortgages. His quip quickly created momentum as Willie Nelson and other artists set up Farm Aid, a still-running US festival to raise money for farmers.

Dylan has remained active and toured regularly. In 2012, he released an album full of dark tales of the American past called “Tempest,” raising speculation it would be his finale, in an echo of Shakespeare’s last play of the same name.

But Dylan has kept up his prolific output. Earlier this year he released his 37th studio album, his second in a row devoted to pop standards popularized by Frank Sinatra.

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TOM WAITS READS 2 BUKOWSKI POEMS

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https://youtu.be/bHOHi5ueo0A

 

The laughing heart (Tom Waits reads a Charles Bukowski poem)

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https://youtu.be/W-vdPkESLZs

Tom Waits reads Nirvana by Charles Bukowski

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Charles Bukowski – Poems Insults!

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Charles Bukowski – Poems Insults! – Live Reading City Lights

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https://youtu.be/61t-Smksvvc

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The ORIGINAL BEATS outtakes: HERBERT HUNCKE

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The ORIGINAL BEATS outtakes: HERBERT HUNCKE

Published on Mar 10, 2012

Never seen before outtakes from the film of Francois Bernadi

HERBERT HUNCKE AT THE CHELSEA HOTEL 1994

 

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Leonard Cohen bio and Leonard Cohen/Jeff buckley sing Hallelujah

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Leonard Cohen

THE BEST OF LEONARD COHEN

https://youtu.be/q2R3Z0zPxto

Leonard Cohen Biography

Poet, Songwriter, Singer (1934–)
Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen is known for his poetic lyrics and baritone voice. He’s received acclaim for such songs as “Hallelujah” and “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.”

Synopsis

Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen was born on September 21, 1934. An early writer and guitarist, Cohen began to compose and release folk-rock and pop songs by the mid-1960s. One of his most famous compositions is “Hallelujah,” a song released on 1984’s Various Positions. Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, and he received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2010.

Early Life

Leonard Norman Cohen was born on September 21, 1934 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As a teenager, Cohen learned to play guitar, and around the same time, he began writing poetry and novels. Not long after graduating from McGill University, in 1955, Cohen decided to move to New York City.

By the mid-1960s, Cohen had become intrigued by the Greenwich Village folk scene and, with his background in music and writing, music composition was a natural step. He soon began to compose and release folk-rock and pop songs, and in 1967, made his musical debut at the Newport Folk Festival. The event spurred Cohen’s fame, and he continued to perform publicly, at concerts in New York City, as well as on the television program Camera Three, a cultural affairs program that aired weekly on CBS at the time.

Musical Career

Also in the mid-1960s, Cohen began receiving praise for songs made popular by other singers. In 1966, folk singer Judy Collins released her album In My Life, which included two singles that were written by Cohen: “Suzanne” and “Dress Rehearsal Rag.” In 1967, Noel Harrison released his own, pop rendition of Cohen’s “Suzanne.” By the end of that year, Cohen had released his first album, The Songs of Leonard Cohen, which included his version of the song “Suzanne.” The album also included the popular songs “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” and “Master Song,” among others.

Two years later, Cohen released Songs from a Room (1969), featuring the now-famous single “Bird on a Wire.” That album was followed by 1971’sSongs of Love and Hate, which included the singles “Avalanche” and “Famous Blue Raincoat.” Cohen produced three other albums before the end of the decade.

After co-writing the soundtrack to the musical film Night Magic, with fellow songwriter Lewis Furey, Cohen released 1984’s Various Positions. The album included one of Cohen’s most popular songs to date: “Hallelujah.” The song has been covered countless times, including by John Cale and Jeff Buckley, whose renditions—both considered to be smoother, vocally, than Cohen’s—received wide acclaim.

From the late 1980s to 2012, Cohen released a handful of albums, includingI’m Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Ten New Songs (2001) and Dear Heather (2004). In 2010, Sony Music released Songs from the Road, an album of songs that were performed live by Cohen in 2008 and 2009.

In January 2012, at the age of 77, Cohen released Old Ideas. In his late 70s, Cohen continues to write music and tour, most recently with a 2012 concert series.

Legacy

Leonard Cohen—whose musical style has been deemed straightforward, prophetic and, at times, seemingly expressionless—has been compared to folk-rock musician Bob Dylan. Though some listeners have strayed away from Cohen’s baritone voice and deadpan delivery, he has enjoyed wide critical and commercial acclaim. Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. He received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement in 2010.

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Leonard Cohen: ‘I have no appetite for retirement’

As Leonard Cohen returns to play London’s O2 Arena, his biographer Sylvie Simmons reveals how the former recluse fell back in love with touring – and how wants to take up smoking again on his 80th birthday.

The singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen

The singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen Photo: AP
 By Sylvie Simmons

Who else could this be but Leonard Cohen, at a recent concert in Kentucky, confiding with a large audience his plan to resume smoking on his 80th birthday. I first heard him talk about it – before it became honed and polished into one of his droll, Rat Pack-rabbi lines – a year and a half ago in the kitchen of his Los Angeles home – a remarkably modest duplex in an unremarkable neighbourhood that he shares with his daughter Lorca and her daughter (by the musician Rufus Wainwright) Viva. Cohen, dressed off stage as on in a dark suit and fedora, was rustling up a couple of lattes on an espresso machine, which he served, in the most elegant manner, in two of those cheap, promotional coffee mugs that companies give out – in this case promoting Cohen’s 1993 album The Future.

He had just finished work on a new album – Old Ideas, which was released in January 2012. And I was close to completing his biography – I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, published last November. I had assumed, as many did, that my book would have ended in Las Vegas, with the last triumphant concert of Cohen’s 2008-10 tour. But Cohen had moved the goalposts, and I was there to interview him for the final chapter. He was on a roll – midway through writing and recording another album in the studio above his garage. Nearly three years solid of three-hour plus concerts had clearly had an effect.

Cohen’s own theory – the same theory he had to explain how he was finally cured of a lifetime’s depression – was that it all came down to age. He was in the latter half of his seventies and on the “homeward stretch” and, when it came to his work, his writing, he had no time to waste. This was plausible enough, except that Cohen was saying the same thing about mortality and knuckling down in his late fifties – not long before deciding to quit the music business and LA and live in a hut on Mount Baldy as a servant to his old Rinzai Buddhist teacher Roshi Joshu Sasaki. In truth, Cohen the septuagenarian seemed in much better shape than he was then. Certainly in better shape emotionally. And one major cause was this tour that he had begun, with the deepest reluctance, having been forced back on the boards after finding himself broke, his savings having been famously, and ironically, misappropriated while he was living as an ordained Zen monk.

Cohen hadn’t toured in 15 years – which was fine with him; he’d had never much liked touring. A creature of habits and a shy man, he also worried for his songs, afraid their purity would be soiled by being dragged before a paying crowd every night. He was also concerned that if he did tour, there might not be an audience – crazy though that sounds now after Cohen notched up one of the biggest-grossing tours of the new millennium. His return was greeted with a tidal wave of love that he’s been riding ever since, circling the world several times over, playing to the biggest audiences of his career.

Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell (Photo: copywright of David Gahr 2012)

Not only did he restore his missing funds, he’s added to them, considerably. He has no need to get on a plane and play another concert ever again, and no-one could have blamed him if he’d taken a final bow and slipped back into a life of stillness and (give or take the occasional female companion) solitude. Instead, Cohen decided – much as Dylan did – to play out his life on a never-ending tour.

When I asked him why, he sat at the little wooden kitchen table and thought about it, as if the question hadn’t occurred to him before. Quite possibly it hadn’t; he had previously told me that he didn’t examine his motivations much. “Before the pesky little problem of losing everything I had,” he said finally, “I had the feeling that I was treading water – kind of between jobs; a bit at loose ends. When the money problem arose, what bothered me most was that I was spending all my time with lawyers, accountants, forensic accountants… I thought, if God wants to bore me to death I guess I have to accept it.” It was a full-time job and “an enormous distraction”, spending day after day going through old emails and mountains of paperwork. Now and again he would, as he put it, remember he had had been a singer once. This long succession of concerts re-established Cohen as a singer and as “a worker in the world”.
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah on MUZU.TV.

Although he had gone on the road because he didn’t have the money to retire, he found that he had “no sense of or appetite for retirement”. And though he’d spent a good deal of his life craving solitude, he had grown to love and miss the band and the crew, this community of fellow travellers. When the tour ended, they had all stayed in touch; and with very few exceptions, they eagerly signed up again when Cohen decided that the new album was a fine excuse for another tour.

“I like the life on the road, because it’s so regulated and deliberate,” Leonard said. “Everything funnels down to the concert. You know exactly what to do during the day and you don’t have to improvise” – as you would if you were at home, composing or recording. He thrived on the strict regime of tour; he had always been drawn to an almost military discipline. Even as a young boy he had asked his parents to send him to military academy (his mother said no), and he’d named his first touring band – the one he played with at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival – The Army. Not without pride does he describe Rinzai monks as “the marines of the spiritual world”.

The road reminded him of the monastic life sometimes. “Once you get the hang of it,” he said, “you go into ninth gear and kind of float through it all.” You can tell he’s floating now by the way he skips on stage and jokes and flirts with the fans. As for the falling to his knees and the bowing – to the musicians who do him the honour of delivering his words, and to the audience who do him the honour of accepting them – they seem to satisfy an equally deep need in him of service and ritual. More than one reviewer likened Cohen’s concerts to religious gatherings, with a few going so far as to compare them to papal visits.

One thing conspicuous by its absence since 2008 has been the sacramental wine. Nowadays, Cohen rarely drinks. After a show, he goes back to his hotel room alone; he still has that need for solitude and quiet. As for drugs, the strongest substance I could find backstage on his US tour was a suitcase full of PG Tips – and his touring partners the Webb Sisters may have been to blame for that. But it’s nice to imagine Cohen backstage at the 02 Arena, sitting cross-legged under a pyramid tea bag, meditating on how that pack of cigarettes is only one year and three months away.

Leonard Cohen returns to the 02 Arena on June 21st. I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons is out now in paperback (Vintage), £9.99

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I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons

 

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The Belles of Picardy and more by V. Alarcon Cordoba

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Joaquín doesn’t live here anymore . . .

I

“… he died of the Vietnam War

from drug and alcohol abuse.” — it’s what I tell
whoever still asks about my brother
Joaquín


I remember Joaquín
he used to fill my head with stories
about days he’d spent on furlough
in the summer of ’67
in San Francisco
while recuperating from two broken legs
at Treasure Island Naval Base hospital

he described in foggy detail the Haight-Ashbury
the Fillmore
how he’d watched Eric Burton
who was a regular then
tripping on acid
singing blindfolded
daring himself to not walk off
the edge of the stage

he also introduced me to his Missouri Meerschaum
a yellow corn-cob
with a tortoise-shell colored plastic mouthpiece
and the small bag of Vietnamese
he had smuggled
from his tour of duty in ‘Nam

my thoughts
suddenly
a stream of moving pictures
thoughts
dreamed

I closed my eyes
and in an instant
opened them

the bohemian . . .

… painting the pages

The Belles of Picardy

I

… during
the Vietnam War
I became a conscientious objector

I looked with horror
at photographs of overcrowded cemeteries
with no room left to bury the dead

tombstones lined up shoulder to shoulder
on the landscape of Europe
like soldiers marching to their death

I remember
the photograph
of my father in uniform
bringing to mind that he had indeed
been one of the lucky ones
who had made it back in one piece
from the Pacific Theatre

in my head I heard bells tolling
hammering to the beat of foot marches
an anthem to the dead

and to my brother
who was yet to die the slow death
of Vietnam’s lingering poison

I called it
The Belles of Picardy
an imaginary war march sung by the nymphs
that beckon soldiers

from every cathedral bell tower
in every corner of the world
to the Fields of Flanders
Dunkirk
Da’nang
Iraq
Iran
–hell

coda:
(for years I had watched the dismal gray theater of Eastern Europe
never realizing that what they depicted could one day come true)

the bohemian . . .

… painting the pages

ABOUT V. ALARCON CORDOBA  -VISIT HIS TERRIFIC BLOG  –  the bohemian  @  https://alarconvictor.wordpress.com

I am a writer of poems, short stories and existential fantasies. My writings should be read as lyric paintings—theater of the mind (to borrow a phrase from Eugene O’Neill). They are better viewed as pictures rather than verse—the vivid blue of a Paris street illuminated by a harvest moon and a lovers’ quarrel at 3 o’clock in the morning, or the sunlit yellows of a Kansas wheat field in a rolling epic of the American West.

They are fiction, but filled with the realization that one will eventually wake from the dreams of childhood. But those dreams, though doused, are never fully extinguished. Life is change. Life goes on. Dreams remain forever. Find your dreams.

Have you ever found yourself caught in a trap so subtle you wonder how you ever got there in the first place? Have you ever needed to get out of a situation, but were too enticed by desire to leave? In Flatland – A Modern Southwest Adventure Icarus Dade finds himself in the grip of just such a web of intrigue.

When a railroad accident in the Four Corners region of the New Mexico desert leaves him stranded, Icarus finds life much more complicated than he could have imagined. Follow along as he becomes entangled in a seemingly inescapable net of love, corruption and betrayal in the double-dealing small town justice of Flatland.


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Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Norman J. Olson a few more poems and artwork

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Norman J. Olson a few more poems and artwork

Norman J. Olson a few more poems and art

IMAG0273_1 (1)
Published on Apr 22, 2014

https://www.dropbox.com/…/b26agv6…/my%20movie%202.mp4…

a brief poetry reading and art by Minnesota small press poet and artist Norman J. Olson

imcd45ages                                                                         imcdeages

olson3

MY COLLAGED COUNTRY GUITAR

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Ana’s GuitarThis is my friend Ana’s Guitar.

Ana is a Poet who, some years ago, went travelling through Nashville, Tennessee collecting and patching memorabilia to this guitar. The arm sticking out from the bottom of the photo is Mr. Howdy Doody’s Puppet!

If you view this in larger size you can read the details on leaflets.

You can view this in Large here;

www.flickr.com/photos/26562546@N02/15929077150/sizes/o/

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