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Poetisk Podcast #11: EFTERTIDEN

EFTERTIDEN (AFTER-TIME/POSTERITY) is a musical universe with a lyrical voice as its centre. The words speak of being alone, of overcoming and surviving, of cold, winter coats, of snow, of the beauty of ashes, of getting through crises. The music hovers around the words, whispering and bubbling, at once distant and near, warm and cool. In passages it resonates with and shares the same space as the words, in others it withdraws and leaves the words in their own space, trying to remember something that seems forgotten.

Niels Frank rewrote his poetry collection “Små guder” (Small gods) (2008) for the podcast, and Rosanna Lorenzen composed the music.

The podcast was the third out of five productions in the series Poetic Podcast Sends 2050, where the poets were given five titles as points of inspiration. CIRKUS 3000 and Lytteposten, the first two in the series, dealt with the title ‘Thing/Nothing’. EFTERTIDEN relates to ‘A Solar Wind in One’s Hair’.

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Taras & Anna podcast artwork.  A statue of Taras Shevchenko in the foreground, with only the upper part visible – the lower part covered with sandbags to protect it. In the background a painted portrait of Anna Akhmatova peeps from behind the sandbags.

Poetisk Podcast #10: Taras & Anna

Recorded in April, a little over a month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In her introduction to the podcast Lene Henningsen (who translated and recorded the poems), at the time still recovering from a bout of Covid, describes “…fever dreams and fantasies, many of which ended somewhere in Ukraine, and that was perhaps not so strange since many of our thoughts at the moment end there, or dwell there, and perhaps find it difficult to find a way back again.”

Taras Shevchenko (1814 – 61), was Ukraine’s great national poet from the Romantic era and a symbol of the country’s independence – a political figure, artist, and etnografer. Anna Akhmatova (1889 – 1966), an important and highly loved Russian (Ukrainian born) poet, wrote in the shadow of Stalin, censorship, persecution and fear. Both were national treasures, each in their own way. Both were censored and imprisoned for writing and thinking the way they did.

I wrote a little about the complex tangle of cultural identity and imperialism that they provide a touchstone for, in my newsletter at the time.

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Poetisk Podcast #9: Lyttepost (Listening Post)
Sound and text: René Jean Jensen

In Lyttepost, the philosopher David Hume is quoted as saying that there are no connections between things and events, only coincidences. Can that be true? What about time, the past; what about the seasons – do they also coincide, do they overlap? Is a drop an isolated event, does it want something itself? Can you hear the difference between 11 and 10 stones thrown into the water? What does it sound like when no stone is thrown into the water? Is the silence someone’s, is it nothing, is it a thing? And what is ‘nostalgia’?

The podcast is the second of five productions in the series Poetisk Podcast sends 2050, where poets were invited to choose from 5 titles as a point of inspiration. René dealt with topic of Thing/Nothing, particularly in the ‘experiments’ in the podcast, as well as in a more figurative sense in relation to the concept of ‘nostalgia’ and the feeling that the bandwidth of the ‘now’ contains many ‘things’ that one doesn’t discover in the moment (and therefore experiences/hears as ‘nothing’).

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Poetisk Podcast #8: CIRKUS 3000

There is no climate left. Certainly not many people either. A radio journalist has been given the opportunity to cover CIRKUS 3000, in what is probably the last broadcast in the world. Enclosed in a transparent box, with a synthetic voice as his only company, he tries to describe the spectacle and the unknown beings who are creating it somewhere above the highest structure on earth.

CIRKUS 3000 was the first of five productions in the series Poetisk Podcast Sends 2050, where poets were invited to choose from 5 titles as a point of inspiration. Tomas Thøfner chose Thing/Nothing – which became CIRKUS 3000, with sound design by Kalle Esbjørn Thøfner.

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Poetisk Podcast #7: Trut, trut trompeten kommer

Trut, trut trompeten kommer (Toot, Toot the Trumpet Is Coming) is a summary of Bananskolen’s (Lars Skinnebach, Goodiepal & Pals) trip to the Netherlands to, together with various groups dealing with political art and activism, play concerts and mimeograph Lars’ new poetry collection as a zine.

Bananskolen (which is the name of the expansion that was first called Goodiepal, then Goodiepal & Pals and now Bananaskolen (The Banana School), which involves a flexible number of people, including Goodiepal and Lars Skinnebach) went to Rotterdam in September 2021 to print Lars’ new poetry collection together with various groups dealing with political art and activism, including “The Volunteer Firebrigade of the Apocalypse”, “Woodstone Kugelblitz” and “Whistlegraph”. They took over The Trumpet, a magazine about the apocalypse printed on mimeograph machines with the idea of ​​deliberately embracing a process that is old, slow, and cumbersome. In addition, they played two concerts in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The podcast is a summary of the work with the journal/collection of poems entitled Trut, trut trompeten kommer and the concerts.

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Poetisk Podcast #6: Syv lag (Seven layers)

In this podcast one hears the first three chapters of Julie Sten-Knudsen’s poetry collection Syv lag (Gutkind, 2021) with sounds and music by Sandra Boss. The poems revolve around a chaotic birth that ends in an acute caesarean section, about the fragility of the body and nature, about ruins and extinct butterflies. And about a small child who is in the process of experiencing everything for the first time.

Sandra Boss created a quivering electronic sound universe with simple melodies, timbral planes, and recorded sounds. A sound universe that creates a sensual space for the poems to unfold in; where pain and naivety meet, and where the quiet but insistent tone of the poems is supported musically.

Sandra Boss wrote a little about the process ‘behind the seven layers’ in the Poetisk Podcast newsletter (Danish): poetiskpodcast.dk/nyhedsbrev/december-2021

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Poetisk Podcast #4: Flowmatic Blood Moon

Flowmatic Blood Moon was Poetisk Podcast’s first bilingual production, and in many ways the fruit of a joint effort. Shadi Bazeghi’s poems deal with trauma, tension and the effects of war. Large-scale reflections on the current state of our planet, poetically rooted in an everyday intimacy. Mansoor Hosseini, like Shadi originally a refugee from Iran, created music that is both modern and nostalgic; aural landscapes that open up a space for the words and amplify their intensity.

Since there’s not all that much information on Mansoor available online, I thought it might be interesting to conduct an interview with him, which is available as a bonus episode. We discuss his origins as a refugee from Iran, his studies in Europe and rediscovery of Persian culture, dance, movement, kung fu, Frank Zappa, underground cultures in present-day Iran, and his approach to creating the music for the podcast, amongst other things.

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Poetisk Podcast #4: META

META is a play by Kenneth Krabat, written after a bout of wrestling with cancer, realised as a piece of sound-theatre in the form of a podcast.

In Kenneth’s play, Cancer is (in his own eyes) the one who is bullied and persecuted, while Meta has difficulty talking herself out of playing second fiddle…

Here, a few excerpts from Lene Henningsen’s notes, made during the process of recording the dialogue:

META is a very contemporary text, and yet my thoughts are taken back to both postmodernism and Beckett, e.g. The characters are LARGE, they talk about almost everything. Not least Cancer has big names hanging from his belt: Shiva, God, Devil, World President. (At the same time it can be the bullied child in the school yard). Meta 1 is very much a “modern” figure: critical, sometimes ironic, skeptical. A writer type? Meta 2 inserts a ‘Theater of Death’ into the middle of it all, like a kind of diva of death, and the stage is, paradoxically, full of life.

Let’s pretend that META is also a Faust story. Let’s see Meta 1 as an inquisitive Faust figure who wants to understand, beyond the immediate truths, beyond the mysteries, and ultimately find the truth (as Faust finds love in Goethe). Meta, the author, stands for life, or the systems of life (hence modern). Relates to alienation, avatars, “the fiction of presence”, etc.

Cancer is, Mephisto. A Mephisto with dreadlocks, white face and black suit perhaps, and with sugar coating that he has to brush off every now and then (that’s how I imagine him)? Mephisto is a seller of the idea of death, of change. Feared, bullied, but possessor of some truths.

META includes my own dive into the world of the Gamelan, in this case very much in the context of the narrative, in particular the Ngaben cremation ceremonies in Bali. The rest of the piece is quite sparse in terms of music. Mostly a question of establishing just enough to articulate and support the dialogue, but, for me, a fascinating process in terms of placing words, sound, and music alongside each other.

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Poetisk Podcast #3: Moonpain Revisited

In 2008 Klaus Ib Jørgensen released his extensive Moonpain project, a ‘web-universe’ created around his Moon-pain cycle for voice and ensemble, based on Fernando Pessoa’s poetry.

Peter Poulsen contributed an extensive essay covering Pessoa’s life, heteronyms, and works, and Lene Henningsen, Morten Søndergaard, and Peter Poulsen each wrote a set of new poems, extended with sound and music, around the Moon-pain theme.

Lisbon field recordings were assembled into a cycle covering the course of a day with Peter Poulsen recounting stories about Pessoa and his relation to various locations as we wandered through the center of the city.

The ‘web-universe’ that collected all of the above was programmed in Flash, as was current at the time, and indeed the only means of achieving the interactivity the was at the core of the project’s ambition.

With Flash nearing its ‘End Of Life’ in 2020, and with that the looming closure of the moonpain.nu site, concerns about how all the wonderful material that had been collected there might be made accessible for the years to come, led to it being recast in podcast form and presented on poetiskpodcast.dk.

Read more on the process here: rudigermeyer.com/words/moonpain-revisited

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Poetisk Podcast #2: Altså netop nu
with Lars-Emil Woetmann

Altså netop nu, a ‘poetic podcast’ (in Danish) created together with the poet, author, and publisher Lars-Emil Woetmann – a little hybrid tot: part conversation, part poetry reading, part modulation and tonal interpretation; “arranged for the disturbance of your ear on an otherwise peaceful day”.

The eight eight-minute episodes (plus a little epilogue) were based around Lars-Emil’s poems, and appeared each Friday during the months of May and June, 2020. A conversation between the two of us, recorded a week before the first Danish Covid lockdown, provided a stream against which the poems could surface, with questions concerning the role of the state, the aesthetics of poetry, and the upending of the private sphere.

I wrote a little about the process of creating the series here: rudigermeyer.com/words/altsaa-netop-nu

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