Poetry Out Loud, Volumes 4&10 LP
De Stijl somehow landed a stack of OG sealed copies of Klyd and Linda Watkins’s Poetry Out Loud series. At the time, and even now conjecturin bout its possible dissemination, they were out on their own, making their “audio magazine” post-Charles Olsen creep-out mixtapes. I've tried, Lawdy, but I can’t quite hang a shingle on these. ‘S not sound poetry cuz, despite their collective literary pedigrees, Poetry Out Loud don’t strike one as academic as even the Giorno camp (Ginsberg got a rejection stamp!) let alone the Euro whackos. Even “psych poetry” is more reserved for Ward E lifers like Bill Bissett. Or maybe it’s just me billboarding over every potential linkage with “Mid-Atlantic,” cuz the Missouri/Nashville smog coughing out of these sides has clouded my brain. How can any American with a sense of regional identity not perk a lobe at these folks? Don’t it just reassure you that St Louis—post-white flight, & bobbing in the eddies of dropouts and one-bulb bars—produced accidental progenitors of Michael Gira, and the Space Lady. Folks be salivatin over Michigan psych, but I get the sense that maybe there was just something in the water up there. And yet scarcely a cry from the kingdom of Jim Crockett, where 10W30 and local suds stained just as many Wranglers and parking lots. Weird, right?
Well, here we got 2 of the 10 cries of defiance. Volume 4 seems to be a lotta folks’ favorite, and I ain’t here to steer you away. Each volume has the wonderous stereo-ricochet and rickety delay that made Alan Vega sound so sweet back in the day--so that box is already checked. Volume Four runs on a more comfy engine that some of the other volumes, though, if’n you wanna track the LSD trickle into Middle America (though Volume Seven’s “29 Cats,” ‘ll do you right, too). It’s also got healthy doses of napalm-scented lamentations and Native American-style/hippie chants. But for my ducets, the final installment, Volume 10, is where it’s at. Gospel and Appalachian musics get decanted into righteously tense and paranoid moaner anthems. Check “Bad Man,” and the slow-mo tunnel chase of “Going Below,” for evidence.
How De Stijl is still holdin stock is beyond me, but maybe some folk see the word “poetry” and turn tail. Silliness, cuz Billy Collins this ain’t. If you happen to miss out or you’s one of the Technics-challenged among us, they’re all up on iTunes for virtual grippage.
For further info and a better tellin’ of the halcyon days than I could ever hope to muster, check this recent interview with Watkins himself. Dude is dude.