Soon after arriving in Calfornia in 1958 I bought a book on impulse, I’d never bought a book of poetry before but something attracted me to this book. It’s title was ‘Poets Choice’ and it was a collection of about 100 poems chosen by their authors as their favorites, one poem stood out and grabbed me, it was by someone I’d never heard of, Philip Levine, the poem was ‘For Fran’, dedicated to his wife. Here it is, I’ve had it on my wall or my desktop all my life. It almost brought me to tears.
This led me to Philip Levine’s poetry which I discovered was based in large part on his experiences working in the Ford plant in Detroit, Michigan and in Spain where he went to study the antifascist side of the Spanish Civil War and to write about it. He was perhaps the only American poet devoted to the industrial workers and their conditions. He became the poet laureate of the United States and NPR-TV devoted this piece to him. The second piece is a bit longer and he reads several of his poems. He will definitely be missed, thanks Phillip.
These boots are made for W……..
here’s the game to illustrate either:
How wildly eclectic your taste is… or,
How perfectly streamlined it is.
Best of 2013 by ME:
10 dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip – I’m contracted to add Pip every year.. this is one of the best protest tracks of the year – again missed by Dorian.
Stiff Upper Lip dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip feat. Itch Repent Replenish Repeat
9 Orties – French elctro making you dance like a robot from 1984 – here you go – accented songs about orgasms and goths – sold.
Ghetto Goth Orties Sextape
8 The Indelicates – Arcade Fire’s extremely intense love of their own dangly bits getting on your nerves? – then try this – yet another brilliant story telling album played with passion and anger but without the egoistic self love of the brilliant ideas involved – they ARE brilliant ideas and wonderfully imaginative musically and lyrically too.
Bitterness Is the Appropriate Response The Indelicates Diseases of England
7 Zola Jesus – with strings, lush and cool reedits of her ‘famous hits’.
Collapse Zola Jesus Versions
6 Manix – the Daft Punk album retro theft left you cold with it stealing from all the crap eras (when they used to at least try and be pioneers) and only having one track of any merit – yep – skip that and play this; it recreats 1992 with all the fun of a prodigy album off their tits with spiral tribe… no pretense at originality – no media hype – this it 24 hour rave and it’s boz.
Your Love Is Over Manix Living In The Past
5 The Lovely Bad Things – the pixie aping nuggets loving bad things.
Darth Lauren The Lovely Bad Things The Late Great Whatever
4 Savages – there’s is no better indie this year – full stop.
No Face Savages Silence Yourself
3 Tricot – jagged jittery brilliance from Japan – a masterpiece of alternative buzz rock playing and performance. ACE.
Artsick Tricot The
2 Sleaford Mods – ranting, swearing infested, bile, spewed forth with aggressive venom and stream of consciousness – brilliant – is number one album of the year when I’m not in polite company – (**this track from Jobseeker 3 track single not austerity dogs album).
Black Monday Sleaford Mods Jobseeker album is Austerity Dogs
1 Juana Molina – crazy mixed up groovetastic joy.
Eras Juana Molina Wed 21
My 11 most played albums of ’12 in ’13.
My end of year round up is now turned into the ‘spill game:
you know the score DUMP one (or all of them – see if I care)
It’s pop and it’s fun – don’t take it too seriously.
Remember, they are my most played – I’m not claiming they will change the world – I just liked them.
Band names in BOLD – for those who believe I make stuff up:
1 Stroke My Curls The Dodoz Forever I Can Purr 2012
2 Cuka (feat. Ikonoklasta) Batida Batida (feat. Mck, Circuito Feixado, Ikonoklasta, Beat Laden 2012
3 The Empty Man Whitey Lost Summer 2012
4 Genevieve Stealing Sheep Into The Diamond Sun 2012
5 Horn For The Whole Damn World Lazarus and the Plane Crash Horseplay
6 Passenger Emily Wells Mama 2012
7 Kevlar Sweethearts Diablo Swing Orchestra Pandora’s Pinata 2012
8 Be Strong (Blakkat Remix) The 2 Bears Be Strong (Deluxe Edition) 2012
9 Rat-at-at The Skints Part & Parcel 2012
10 Clap Hooded Fang Tosta Mista 2012
11 Circus Sunday Driver The Mutiny 2012
Well one good thing to come out of the Obama administration is the appointment of Phillip Levine to be the next United States Poet Laureate, I’ve spent my life collecting his poetry and any interviews and readings that I could find so I’me delighted with this news. He’s one of a dying breed, a poet of the people, his poems are mostly devoted to the common man doing hard physical work. Here’s a short piece honoring him from today’s radio plus here’s a nice video of him in New York city.
It’s nice to have the opportunity to honor an old timer without having to write an obituary.
Sat under the plum tree in the garden, looking at the cut grass that needs to be raked up, I was reminded of “Cut Grass” by Philip Larkin
Cut grass lies frail:
Brief is the breath
Mown stalks exhale.
Long, long the death
It dies in the white hours
Of young-leafed June
With chestnut flowers,
With hedges snowlike strewn,
White lilac bowed,
Lost lanes of Queen Anne’s lace,
And that high-builded cloud
Moving at summer’s pace.
Does anyone have a summer poem they like? If so, please post in the comments!