Friday, October 12, 2007

"Ha-ra-xeh-u-ka," the Bob Cobbing experience! 

"Poetry is like a tightrope,
sometimes it comes off,
sometimes you come off."
--Bob Cobbing

Having been exposed to many kinds of poetry in my life, and having seen many kinds of readings, it's nice, very nice in fact, to go to a reading that's completely different. Completely different is what this was.

Celebrating the "Visual and Sound Poet" Bob Cobbing last night at the Kelly Writers House was Maggie O'Sullivan, Cris Cheek, Marvin Sackner, Charles Bernstein and Matthew Abess.

Cris Cheek gave a performance never to be forgotten. Following a charted ride of markings on a page came his sounds of booming, murmur, zithing and punctured soul kind of extended cries, using his entire body to get them out. The page itself is beautiful, but it seems like some channeled foreign language, and not foreign meaning from another country, more like another dimension. At times frightened to be honest, I was enthralled, and could have listened to him for HOURS!

Cheek then had us read a Cobbing poem together, which in part was this:

Ha-ra-xeh-u-ka Ha-ra-xeh-u-ka Ha-ra-xeh-u

Ja-sa-yeh-ee-la Ja-sa-yeh-ee-la Ja-sa-yeh-ee

Ka-ta-zeh-umm-ma Ka-ta-zeh-umm-ma Ka-ta-zeh-umm

La-va-beh-oh-no La-va-beh-oh-no La-va-beh-oh

Ma-wa-deh-eh-pa Ma-wa-deh-eh-pa Ma-wa-deh-eh

It was music directed through the collective centralized nervous system, making us giddy and high after the test of reading, singing this out loud together.

There was also a short film of Cobbing and company in a small art space in London making these poems come alive and the impact of this has to be seen, experienced.

Click HERE to see the Writers House page with links to Cobbing and all the other contributors.

Maggie O'Sullivan blew my mind. Her reading of her poems will be with me for a long time. I look forward to hearing this whole event, but most especially O'Sullivan again once PENNSOUND has it available online. Her website is very generous, entire facsimiles of her books to read through. Click HERE. She hasn't been to the states in over 5 years, and before that it had been 15 years since she'd been here. What an amazing gift to have heard her read her poems!

Currently on display at the Van Pelt Library on the 6th floor is a Cobbing exhibit put together by Matthew Abess which I look forward to seeing. And you should too.

If you didn't get to see/hear this event tonight, PENNSOUND will have it available shortly. Look for it there. I want Bob Cobbing in my life from now on!


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