Reading a poem is one thing, hearing a poet read his or her poetry can be quite another.
We live in an exciting time, when audio recording technology, radio, and the Internet allow our voices to be in many different places at once. Although poetry as a performance art has been around since cavemen acted poems out to their families. Now, radio and podcasting allow poetry to be everywhere at the touch of a button.
I was thrilled to have my poem “Baby Buggy Boogie-Woogie (Homage to Piet Modrian)” featured recently on Conrad’s Corner, a production of the NPR affiliate WYSO, in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Thank you, host Conrad Balliet, for featuring my poetry on your program. And thank you, Third Wednesday magazine, for first publishing the poem last spring in Vol. IX, No. 2 of your journal. Listen here to my reading of “Baby Buggy Boogie-Woogie” on the Conrad’s Corner podcast.
As the poem’s title suggests, I took inspiration for “Baby Buggy Boogie-Woogie (Homage to Piet Mondrian)” from Mondrian’s famous 1942 painting Broadway Boogie-Woogie, which shows red, yellow, and blue squares bebopping along in a New York City street grid pattern.
I thought it could be nifty to juxtapose the jazzy urban energy of Mondrian’s painting to the realm of suburban busy-ness. The more specific image of a suburban mom pushing her baby in a buggy while taking her power walk came to mind. I wanted to capture the jazzy feel of Mondrian’s painting and so relied on my ear to create syncopations in the rhythm of the language and to make the surface sound of the language crackle with alliteration and assonance. I also coined a couple new words (“mothersome,” “babyescent”) to give the poem a whimsical feel. The result is a poem whose music lends itself well to being heard read aloud.
I hope you enjoy the poem and the podcast. Drop me a line and let me know.