The dynamic duo of Brett Evans and Tracey McTague were reunited again in under 24 hours to participate in the new series Left of the Dial hosted by poet Ben Kopel and housed at Euclid Records in the Bywater. Standing room only among LPs and waves of nostalgia, Brett Evans delivered his usual punch of wit, cynicism, and lyrical delight scraping the detritus of verbal spoofs, twists, and tongue twisters with comedic timing and surprising juxtapositions. Take for instance a series of poems titled "Versus Verses" which is both exactly what it implies with technicolor Evans panache:
"drunk tank vs. Panzer/ weeping willow vs Sword of Damocles/ emergency milk vs. needed ade/ Imaginary Friend vs. Bride of Mother-in-Law handshake/ Cross the Rubicon vs. Jump the Shark..."
From that surrealist game play, Evans turns towards a complicated invented form that involves a sonnet crossed with a cinquain crossed with Evans particular mode of transmitting the image along a play of word exchanges. "XIII" ends (in the sonnet form): "like I told you once in Oahu/ Suzanne Vega turned 50 today carbon dating/ reveals how long I've loved you"
Poet Tracey McTague celebrated her birthday in style by stepping up to the mic to share her blend of words and syllabic gymnastics to her soon-to-become new fans as well as the old. McTague's poems are like waterfalls, you have to just sit back and let them fall over you and just as your poetry eyes are lured into a slightly relaxed squint, the rainbows appear. McTague eschews narrative for the lightning connections made on the cerebral & subconscious levels allowing syllables and synapses to guide the jumps and ducks around the swirl of her language. Poems are filled with concrete nouns stacked up to create tumbling blocks of images as she sweeps around the puns and delicately trips among the catches and consonants that sing us our familiar sounds like a nursery rhyme. Suddenly, Shelley is standing mid-watered in his sea changed grave, a levee is made for breaching, a cup is turned over and your future falls out: That is the poetry of Tracey McTague.
If these rock stars should grace a poetry venue in a town near you or perhaps you should wake up in the middle of the night with the sweet sound of WHAM wafting through your walls: know you're in good hands. This review might be slightly biased as I adore WHAM, but who doesn't?
(photo by Michael Dominici)
Also, it's Ezra Pound's B-day.
From Canto LXXXI
But to have done instead of not doing This is not vanity To have, with decency, knocked That a Blunt should open To have gathered from the air a live tradition or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame this is not vanity. Here error is all in the not done, all in the diffidence that faltered . . .