The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 25, 1989 - Page 11"
BY JAY PINKA
I'M hoping we'll all be able to see Margo LaGattuta
read her poetry at Guild House this evening, but accord-
ing to her answering machine, she's invisible. -
LaGattuta sets tables for the middle-aged couple that
can't eat because "their silverware is stitched to the
tablecloth." And they're invisible.
Believe it or not.
Their names are Mr. and Mrs. Blombatt, and accord-
ing to their creator, LaGattuta, they are "Mr. and Mrs.
America and they're bored with each other."
The invisible Blombatts are part of a scenario
LaGattuta and her collaborator, artist Kris Reising,
have constructed as part of a piece entitled "Hot Lights
and Dinner Music," a work of art that LaGattuta and
Reising have been recreating in new locations since
1986. "They're like ghosts," added LaGattuta.
LaGattuta's interest and activity in the creative field
stretches beyond the realm of poetry, as shown in her
poems that complement the sculptures, drawings, and
collages of Reising. "She began to make pieces of art
from the images of my poems," explained the invisible
Her work with others shows her considerable experi-
ence with the creative process in and out of the writing
field. Her innovative use of her own imagination, as
well as that of others, is particularly striking.
For example, her latest book (finished in January
and entitled The Dreamgivers) is, according to the
poet, free verse inspired by the "deep-images of my
dreams." She commented on the surreal tendencies of
her poetry. But LaGattuta's poetry is not a closed door
covered with graffiti that is Greek to the average human
being. LaGattuta spoke of the challenge presented by
ity... breaking down edge lines between the individual
arts, between people," explained LaGattuta. She teaches
creative processing classes at Cranbrook, where she
does "improvisation... getting people to write and read
on the spot," techniques which she's doubtless includ-
ing in a textbook on creativity she is currently working
on. Her last trip to the Rag Deale Writers' Colony,
where she goes approximately every six months, re-
LaGattuta's poetry is not a closed door covered with graffiti that is Greek to the
average human being. LaGattuta spoke of the challenge presented by the poet
or artist, saying that it should "be art and yet accessible to real people - not
just for an academic audience." The author hinted at the universal truths that
all people share, which bind them one to another, and which she feels are
inherent in her work.
one of her sparkling, new mysterious ideas - concern-
ing a certain mythological woman called The Green
Lady. Her own need to write shows in how LaGattuta-
expresses herself about her ideas and her poems. The'
poet stopped writing for 14 years, realized how muchd
she "missed it," and signed up for "poetic license once
LaGattuta commented on the quality of literature be=
ing published in the U.S. today: "I'm disappointed
with the publishing in this country." The poet defended
the excellence of other poets who she feels deserve,
more respect. While it goes unacknowledged by pub-
lishers, readers have to settle for things unbearable such
as "sentimentality." She asked, "When real people can
write like this, why are they publishing all this junk?"
"Graduate school really got me disciplined," says
LaGattuta of her education at Warren-Wilson and
Vermont College. Usually, the poet writes a first draft,
types it up, and then proceeds to revise onto the typed
copy. Once in a while, "a poem comes out complete
on a yellow legal pad."
LaGattuta's vivacious spirit showed as she relayed
the story of a man in England who, after she recited her
poem to him, gave her eight dollars on the spot and
demanded that she mail him her book. She radiates a
desire to explore and to share creative experience.
"I've gone a lot of places with my work," she said.
"I really do have an audience." And not an invisible
the poet or artist, saying that it should "be art and yet
accessible to real people - not just for an academic
audience." The author hinted at the universal truths that
all people share, which bind them one to another, and
which she feels are inherent in her work.
"I'm not writing literary truth... not writing in style
or vogue... but emotion... pushing my own creativ-
r pr r r
sulted in 15 finished poems.
It's clear that this poet is neither bored nor invisible
like the Blombatts. Her tastes and perceptions are in-
tense and colorful, as shown by her fascination with
the "conceptual, abstract quality... imagery," of poets
such as Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath..
LaGattuta's first book, Diversion Road, was pub-
lished in 1984 by The State Street Press. She is also
presently working on another book, Fire on the Lake,
about illusions and reality. LaGattuta has also been
published in several literary journals. The poet recapped
Camper Van Beethoven
Key Lime Pie
The happy Campers have been
putting out their own wonderfully
eird ska/ethnic/folk/rock musical
lend for five albums now, not in-
cluding a bunch o' EP's and side pro-
jects, and Key Lime Pie continues
the previous albums' tradition of
fine music. This is the band's second
album for Virgin records, following
the brilliant Our Beloved Revo-
The group's latest project is their
0rst since the departure of violin-
t/keyboardist Jonathan Segal, who
contributed greatly to the Camper
Van sound. Segal's replacement is
violinist Morgan Fichter, who con-
tributes a nifty "lead violin" to a
cover of "Pictures of Matchstick
Men." Elsewhere, the violin does
not play as large a role as in previ-
ous CVB excursions; whereas
Segal's violin was usually an inte-
*ril part of the songs, here the in-
strp ment seems to be used mostly
foj embellishment. Guitarist Greg
Lisher and vocalistlguitarist David
Lowery more than adequately fill in
the band's sound, yet overall the
so(nd of this year's model of CVB
sems less driving than that of
The excellent rhythm section of
bassist Victor Krummenacher and
drummer Chris Pederson seems
particularly subdued. The band only
really cooks on three of the album's
14 songs. The band has played
"Pictures of Match-stick Men" in
concert in the past, and here they put
in a fine version. "The Humid Press
of Days" and "(I Was Born In A)
Laundromat" come close to the
intensity of the band's best work,
and the latter features an instantly
memorable guitar riff worthy of Led
Zeppelin (well, sort of). "Jack
Ruby" and "Sweethearts" are also
Lyrically, the content ranges from
the absurdly funny "The Light From
A Cake" to the silly "When I Win
The Lottery" ("I'm gonna donate half
my money to the city/ So they'll
have to name a street or a school or
a park after me"). There are also two
instrumental tunes, part a long
tradition of CVB instrumentals.
Although this album does not seem
as strong as previous ones, espe-
cially coming after the great Our
Beloved, it is still a mighty fine lis-
tening experience and features plenty
of good tunes - even at their weak-
est, Camper Van Beethoven is a lot
than most other
The fact is Oh Mercy is at last a
real Bob Dylan album. The
Wilburys project and Dylan and the
Dead certainly didn't cut it. Last
summer's Down In the Groove had a
great version of "Shenandoah," and
the effort before that, Knocked Out
Loaded, could boast of its worth-
while collaboration between Dylan
and Sam Shepard, but both relied far
too much on all-star pick-up ses-
sions and thrown-together ditties.
They suffered, really, because of
their unbearable lightness.
Oh Mercy is heavy. Maybe it
should have been called Oy vey.
This year's Dylan broods about the .
state of the world, the state of his re-
lationships, the state of his own
spirit. He's weighed down by guilt,
disbelief, remorse, responsibility.
He's carrying nearly fifty years of
experience on his weary shoulders.
As a consequence he moves very
slowly. Eight of the album's 10
tracks plod along in an uphill march,
See RECORDS, p. 13
These sweethearts do more than
music this side of Daly City:
fiddle around. Camper Van Beethoven boasts some of the neatest
Write for us. Call 764-0552.
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WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO
MORE THAN A CATALOG -
NOW JOURNAL INDEXES, TOO
Although we have come to
think of MIRLYN as the online
catalog for the University
Library, MIRLYN now consists
of TWO major parts:
1. The online catalog (records
for all items owned by the Uni-
versity of Michigan Library)
computer) you may now
MCAT - Michigan's online
DWIL - Wilson indexes
The indexes currently include:
1 4 -