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March 01, 1970 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-03-01

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Sunday, March 1, 1970

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Sunday, March 1, 1970

A subtle singing character

802 Monroe -


Bob White continually wins
over his audiences at the Ark,
and Friday night was no excep-
White has been a frequent vis-
itor to the Ark over the past
couple of years, and each time
he performs he seems to get a
better response. That response
has been justified, since White
has noticeably improved even
since he played last September.
White began the evening with
a traditional song about s e a 1
hunting, followed soon after by
an interesting logging song cal-
led "The Jam on Jerry's Rocks,"
which he sang a cappella.
As White sang the Carter
family song "Railroadin' on the
Great Divide," one was immed-
iately aware of the quality of his
voice. Though his range is not
particularly wide, the tonal qual-
ities of it are full and moving.
His voice seemed to reach out
into the rest of the room and
draw you nearer to him. Even
through his smooth tones, he
was able to project the some-
times stark, earthy feeling of
Woody Guthrie's nasal sound.
On the same song White also
demonstrated his ability to pick
material that people particul-
arly like to sing along on. The
inside of the old house (the.lo-
cation of the Ark) rang as the
audience sang "Railroadin' on
the great divide/ Nothing
around me but 'the Rockies and
sky./ There you will find me

as years go by/ Railroadin' on
the great divide."
Toward the middle of the first
set, White was joined by Ann
Arbor guitarist, Christopher De
Loach. White is a very capable
guitarist, but the addition of
De Loach gave some songs in-
creased dimension, giving more
variety to the performance.
White showed his versatility as
a musician playing autoharp,
and picking a pretty fair banjo.
He concluded the first set on
the light side, doing a talking
blues number on the banjo,
a children's song "Little Birdie,"
and finally, the "Tennessee
The second set was equally
as fine as the first, beginning
with a song by Main Smith
from San Diego called "I'm
Your Pal Not Your Man." White
also played some nice guitar on
a blues song, as De Loach sat
out. He followed that with a
morbidly humorous song call-
er "Sweeny the Barber," about
a barber who cut his custom-
ers' throats with his razor, tip-
ped back the chair, sliding them
througha trap door tomthe
basement where his wife made
meat pie of them.
White was equally comfort-
able in performing each of his
wide range of songs. He is able
to perform with or without ac-
companiment in the tradition of
the Canadian lumberjacks, mov-
ing through talking blues just

as well. Soft ballads, and hum-
orous songs alike, blended per-
fectly. Seldom does a folk singer
have the ability to present so
many different types of songs,
still maintaining the coherency
White was able to give -his
Those who went to see White
With the hope of reaching en-
lightenment, or hearing s o m e
great philosophical message
were probably very disappoint-
ed. Likewise, you' would not be
likely to be driven to move-
ment. White's music is much
more subtle than that. He has
taken traditional and (com-
posed) folk songs and given
them a great deal of character,
not unlike Guthrie did when he
sang other people's songs. The
songs are not always fresh;
but his interpretations are.
As White sang "Satisfied
Mind," one realized that he
sings even the most familiar
songs with a fullness and sensi-
tivity equal to anyone perform-
ing folk music today.

MONDAY-"What's Happening in
Speaker: ED CONNELL, Landscape Architecture
TUESDAY-"Kibbutz: Model for
American Communes"
Speaker: MENACHEN ROSNER, Israel (Director of major
Kibbutz Research centers)



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care of miles. Will set to highest
offer by Nov. 1. Andy-761-5930 Z2
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I Homecomings are always better than
onel I love ynu! lap FP
Read and Use DAILY Classifieds

-Daily-Richard Lee

Bob White

poetry and prose
Asmall dose of poetic vision

Services and Recreational
will be open
at their regular hours
during spring recess
March 4-8

Coming close to a poet is a freaky thing-
everything is a little bit off-balance, as if the
pieces of the world were being put together in a
different order and all the perspectives distorted.
At the Robert Bly-Donald Hall symposium
Friday, the concentration of poets both in the
audience and behind the microphone was high
enough to be tangible; and the result was an
unusually intense exposure to the poetic point
of view.
This was not poetic vision in the popular sense,
the one that sees all the world as an image and
molds forgotten details into the paths of imag-
ination. This is something else - a way of enjoy-
ing ideas that does not analyze or qualify, does
not break them into parts that are small and
human, but instead takes them whole and
celebrates their more than human hugeness.
The topic of the symposium was the Spanish
poets and their superiority to American poets,
but the discussion centered around Groddeck's
distinction between "poetry that brings us news
of the human mind" and "poetry that brings
as news of the universe."
Early plays used real gods as characters, Bly
argued, but with Shakespeare came a human-
izing influence that replaced the gods with
kings who were higher than most men but con-
siderably lower than gods. This narrowing pro-
cess continued through Ibsen, who wrote about
the middle class - "no kings, no upper class,
just middle class, just you and me" - down
to moderns like Miller who focus on "one ord-
inary guy."
At the same time this narrowing process
was focusing more minutely on man and the
human mind, Bly continued, a second tradition
in poetry was appearing, a return to ideas of the
universe, as exemplified by Goethe, Wordsworth,
Blake, and Yeats. This is the direction in which,
American poetry is slowly moving, Bly feels, and
he pointed to Gary Snyder and Galway Kinnell
as hopeful signs.
Bly does not doubt that this, direction is the
right one and has a few devastating remarks
to make about Robert Lowell and the New
York Review of Books who persist in upholding

the "boring," intellectual "poetry of the human
He read a poem by Lowell with a flat, dis-
gusted voice and commented, "No gods in it,
no microbes in it, no worms, no crocodiles-
nothing but this damn obsession with his cor-
Hall offered a clarification of the "poetry of
the human mind" saying, "we have to get out of
the ego self and into the anonymous self and
the universe. We have to let the wind blow
through our mind - 'not I, not I; but, the
wind.' "
But the poetry which brings "news of the
universe" -is of a higher order. The Spanish
poets, Bly said, work with the universe and with
things that are bigger than man much more
readily than American poets do. The question
of why this is so he threw out to his audience
and the tone of response showed how closely his
argument was being followed andaccepted.
Concensus was that the faculty of the Spanish
poets rests on the Catholic and Moorish tradi-
tions of the country. "They have these wierd
images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary," Bly said,
"and that deep old Arab mystery tradition."
He marvelled over an Arab poem, "The bird
of sleep was about to build a nest in my eyes,
and then he saw my eyelashes and flew away
-he knew all about nets."
"Think of it," he said, "he has concentration
right down to the eyelashes. That's fantastic."
He also read from the haikus of the Japanese
poet Issa, praising their ability to "zero in on
an object."
Bly made the point remorselessly, "It never
occurs to western poets that a fly could be ask-
ing for mercy-They're too ego-bound."
And so the symposium went-a celebration of
the wholeness of an idea. The idea could be
challenged, I suppose, by Robert Lowell. or any-
one else with a fondness for intellectual, man-
centered "poetry of the human mind." But that
would be to fragment and to qualify-to pare
away its sweeping scope and its hugeness. And
none of the poets in the audience seemed in-
clined to do that.





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official publication of the Univer-
sity of Michigan. Notices should be
sent in TYPEWRITTEN f o r m to
Room 3528 L. S. A B 1d g ., before
2 p.m., of the day preceding pub-
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Saturday and Sunday. Items ap-
pear once only. Student organiza-
tion notices a r e not accepted for
publication. F o r more inforna-
tion, phone 764-4270.
Day Calendar
Physics Colloq.: R. Diebold, Argonne
Nat'l Lab., "High Energy Photoproduc-
tion Experiments" P&A Colloq. Rm.,
4:0O p.m.
Geography Lecture: Dr. J. Schaake,
M.I.T., "The Urban Runoff Process"
Rackham Amph., 8:00 p.m.
Placement Service
3200 S.A.B.
Interviews at General Division, can
763-1363 for appointments.
Vista Reps., 3524 all week, no appts,
(Continued on Page 8)
375 No. MAPLE RD.-769-1300
Mon.-Fri.-7:10 & 9:05
Sat. & Sun.-1:30-3:20



Next: "z Starting




EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor. Beethoven Program: Symphony No. 1 in C ma-
jor, Op. 21; Fantasia in C minor for Piano, Chorus, Soloists, and Orchestra; with
Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major ("Emperor") with RUDOLF SERKIN, Pianist.

Cor. Upland near Broadway


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