Harvest The Arts, Mother’s Day in Mt. Baker

I performed with Jim O’Halloran (flute), Greg Powers (tuba) and Michael Nicolella (guitar) yesterday on a Mother’s Day program at the Mount Baker Community Clubhouse. The new Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken also read and closed the program. The theme was Mothers, of course, but the last poem I read took a different angle on that subject.

Harvest The Arts

Hadiyah Carlyle has asked me to write a paragraph about how Jim and I put our performance together:

Jim and I have been collaborating for over a year. When he got the call to perform at the Mt. Baker Community Clubhouse for their new Harvest The Arts series, he invited me to suggest a poem that we could do on the Mother’s Day program. I have some poems dedicated to the mothers in my life, my Mom and my wife, a new Mother. For collaboration with the full trio, I suggested a poem that, ultimately, honors the sacred mother, the mother of all things. It is (one interpretation) of the title poem from my first book A Time Before Slaughter. The poem is in three parts and after part one, there is a bit of singing that came to me while walking beside the Stuck River in Auburn as I had done many times. I sent Jim a recording of me reading the piece and he created a score utilizing the little melody that I provided. When we rehearsed, I was a little concerned when I saw Greg Powers bring the tuba in the room, but his touch was more evocative of Birth of the Cool than oompah bands and I was very pleased with rehearsal and felt the performance would go well. Here’s a recording of: A Time Before Slaughter.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB in Seattle and the Cascadia Poetry Festival. He wrote a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger.) He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets, has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois and other places & writes an American Sentence every day. www.PaulENelson.com
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