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May 10, 1969 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1969-05-10

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1

Saturday, May 10, 1969

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

Saturday, May 10, 1969 THE MICHIGAN DAILY

, _ _

The

ohsi k

r

I

The Face of Folk Music, by
David Gahr and Robert She.-
ton. Citadel, $15.
By ANDY SACKS
Interviewer: What about this
folk music, Mr. Armsti ong?
Louis: I ain't ever heard no
horse sing.
Dave Gahr has finally come
out with a picture book on folk
music.
Who is this Dave Gahr, Where
do you know him from? We
know shim formerly fror our
'folk music days, when we used

is fancy, and Dav G hr works
fo Tae ios by
the nm vdCh.H h a
Robe t Shho. p a n otfit
no tess fancyt'a e Yo k
ide te musc Lic 13963
Th ienti a
folk at in a gien ten year- per-
iod is sort of inconguous That
would be beter with me i11 they
clled t lk-syle or t -
syle music, bcause th book
onl c hronicl.es famous fol
singes and leaves out people
like my sister, u ho can-pick out
Railrod Bil a od as the
next guy's sistpr. Gahr apol-
ogs fo l n out al the
people vwho are folk and do sing,
but just an' as welHknown as
Jean Ritchie et al. Enough pe-
dantic meandering-- let's see
what kind of book it is.,
It is l Aid out like a school year
book complte with main dlvi-
slons and a bi pictre to signal
the sta: t of ech new section-
The guy who designed the book,
didn't loamn e much from his
school days though, and the
lay-out is dull and stagnant He
allows enough white -space for
thle small pictures to at least
stand on their own, and with the
war and the ABE missiles going
up, we should be grateful for
eye:d smal bits ci- good sense.
Good white space will brighten
up anyone's day.
The photographs themselves
are very interesting to anyone
acquainted with the people in
tu s l sic
is always nice. Gahr has been
followin he fo music people
for a good dccdo and he has
taken some pictuie that are
priceless-- thie picture of Bob
Dylan diving, the framous shot
of the Fugs in the doorway of
some New Yo:rk ellar and a
picture of Jack F.oit's guitar
ease with the Dymo tape label
tha reads: Rablinh' Jack El-.
hiot
But wi lot excetion, <I've
.oke a ithbok thiec ol'
four limes) the picurs derive
theio snet mor n ome sub-
ect matte thn 11w mnner in
xx lo. h has potogaphed
them-. In fc teptue of El-
hot's gir e istkn with

b
0
0
k

31 new voices

31 New American Poets, edited by Ron Schreiber. Hill and
Wang, paper, $2.
By RON BRASCHI
In this age of iconoclasm, several qualities are readily discern-
ible in contemporary poetry. For one, all types of subject matter
have become grist for the mill of the poet: What was largely pre-
Beat unpoetic" has been poignantly niade poetic. In its most ex-
treme impure form, coarse rality has been captured:
Now I walk through a door mnarked KINGS,
Behind the plugged toilet bowl
I write JESUS HAS CRAPPED OUT.
This is only part of the power of today's poetry. Directness of
speech and common, everyday details from contemporary life are
woven with outbursts of the irrational in a way too overt or
conscious to be justly called surrealism. Effectively used, these
qualities masterfully mix for an ending such as Dave Etter's from
"St. Dexter's Fire:"
The jukebox martyrs a saxophone.
I drop a mhatch in the used towels
and marry myself to an alley of eyes.
Red guitars, Flames. St. Deter's fire.
Etter is one of the finest of a capable group of previously un-
major anthologized poets represented in 31 New American Poets.
Unfortunately, editor Ron Schreiber has selected only poets who
do not work in traditional forms and metric.. claiming that much
of free verse has been tamed into cadences. Even this limitation,
though, casts only a short shadow on the anthology. There is much
allusion to the subconscious and off-beat imagery.
Though they are prevalent today, interestingly enough, there are
few "confessional" (an overused word but sufficiently definitive
here) poems. Perhaps as a result the book as a whole lacks inten-
sity. While there is great concern for imagery and description of
the external, there is not much powerful personal emotion. It is
almost as if these poets are too analytical or narrative in their
techniques. Obscurity and mind-wandering, of which there is con-
siderable, only moderately tempers this.
As a body, the poems are alive with images and gutsy words,
but not with people (Gene Fowler's "Whore" is a noteworthy ex-
ception). There are enough first person popms that this should not
be. Probably the finest example of the burning poet (albeit through-
a persona) is "The Freak Show" by Nancy Willard, a recent Uni-
versity graduate. in a magnificent private human drama about an
old circus performer, she closes: "Sometimes I pick at my food like
a child./The taste of the whe in the apple hurts."
A greater emphasis should be placed on content: instead, the
poets create new toys without facing the questions that should be
faced. It is not merely a new humanism that is needed, but, rather,
less exhibitionism. It is more than the sentimentalism in me that
requires the poet to invite me into his poem.
In general, the poets of this anoloy are quite clever, able to
draw the most from an experience or setting; they are economical,
a welcome quality nowadays with would-be genius oozing from
every pen; and they are highly representative of the middle and
late 60's.
Unfortunately they seem to lack an intensity that comes usu-
ally with age-if at all. Partially because of this, and partially
because of some strangely "definable" cuality, although 31 New
American Poets has many excellent poems, every time I leave this
book I have the feeling it is inad, quate. According to Ibsen, "The
task of the poet is to make clear to himself and thereby to others,
the temporal and eternal questions." Perhaps herein lies the unique
missing element. In time, some of these poets will raise the ques-
tiorls that are perhaps, in the final analysis, unanswerable. Others
will not. For now, from this anthology, we get quality poetry with-
out the intensity and belief that eventually makes new poets major
poets.

Dylan

to read Sing Out! and look at
the picture credits-,the pictures
wtren't very good, but they had
interesting subject matter, and
they taught you What, Jack El-
liott, Woody Guthrie, and Pete
Seeger looked like., That was a
Ion gtime ago when people, still
spoke of Woody Guthrie like
someday you might see him on
the street-a long time ago.
And we imagined Dave Gahr
as a sort of guy who just traipsed
after the folk crowd for the hell
4" of it, snapping pictures and
casually printing. them up for
Sing Out! each month. That was
when Sing Out! was still set in
typewriter type, and there was
no fancy four color pictures on
the front. But now everything

Hedy e

the liht rell cig off it in such
a way vs to almos lrevnt
reading the label, whichi is~ the
subjet. To shac that label vith
progrm, cv' even a sti -anger
wng y s not voe d iiult,
cm xx oul havem ma e a i-
beece in the eu dyof te
1 -
photogrpoth
se pictur es in te 1 0 lto and
compostion, rathri tnes of
subject mater ad tea se
ncance. Whena Ga I'at rmpts
tylook rea:ly silly: a lone vine
aganst an alumium~ siding
wll o a mandolin back lit--
ANDY SACKS, former photo
edior of The Daily, is known
in the music world as the vir-
tuoso man of the singing Bel.-
ye eres,
RON BRASCH, poetry editor
of Generation, has won several
aw~ rds for his own work.

Guthrie family portrait
but not really in or out focus.
lie is more a snap shooter with
a good sense of timing (the ex-
pressions and nuances he has
captured show his perception),
than a p~hotographer awho grabs
the medium with artistic skill
and, wrings it out for all its
worth.
The comnplementing text is
not very impressive. Robert
Shelton writes e:rly and sim-
ply but doesn't say a whole lot
that mny people wouldn't
know I-cwies about Bob Dy
lan swihng to electic music,
about the oenan crze on
TV, and about gosp music be-
comning secularized, etc. As a
hi te 1ll be v uabe,
but i uv listened to the

o ,nd TV (uring the last
ten yea:rs, ou probably know
most of x1'at he has written.
A f : A picture of
.aer n perform-
e: thC10 Guirie family
I oWoody and Arlo;
b an s ng on Joan Baez;
1 o of the Rolling Stones
i board in Tines quare in
:335 and a sht of a poster ad-
rn h Beatles in Shea
n 20 uhse pictures will
p ma hartst"ings, and for
s nas a year book of
popic from th' last ten
the vo is probably worth
o ht buck So wait till
Mabo o hs a sale and buy it
then. It v l mellow with age.

as.-e

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1

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INTERPRETATO S

- -IM- I - sau -W mm -,w

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