Thursday, January 3, 2008

Greatest Hits Gallery--Ian A.

So begins the posting of the Ekphrastic Gallery of Greatest Hits, featuring a piece or two from each writer in this past semester's ENGW 333 class at Wheaton. What an enormous wealth of material I had before me to read over the first weeks of our break. To pick a representative sample from each writer is a fool's errand, but then maybe I'm the ideal person for the job. Once these are posted, look for a sampler of poetic statements as well.

The first entry comes from Ian A.'s final project, a set of jazz poems combined with photographs taken by photographer Amy Dykstra. Ian and Amy both attended a jazz session with this batch of musicians:

The result is a synthetic work, bringing together music, poetry, and photographs in a way that truly catches the spirit of the course. How much richer are all three arts for being purposefully and intimately connected? And yet, as the poem here suggests, is something lost, as when one translates?

Translation--Ian A.

Bad lighting makes better jazz,

but worse photography,
making it weird to disappear
into jazz under the camera lens.

But creation is the non-player
like me, when I listen and even
when I write

like those writers and the photographers
who try
always to include themselves into jazz

and it forgetfully won’t work,
because no matter how hard
I look or read, interpretation and my

eyes never really let me hear the music

Each poem is mounted with a set of photographs. See below and above. The only thing that could be added, I suspect is a live jazz combo playing while I sat in my office and read the poems. Next time, Ian, I expect you to add that element. I have room in my garage.

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