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September 26, 1990 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-26

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The Michigan Daily Wednesday, September 26, 1990
.Macdonald expresses irony r

Page 7

by Carolyn Pajor
When I was seventeen, a man in
the Dakar Station
Men's Room (I couldn't read
the signs) said to me:
You're a real ball cutter. I
thought about that
* For months andfinally decided
He was right.
Richard Howard once described poet
Cynthia Macdonald as being "a poet
of the grotesque." The young woman
in the above poem, "Objects d'Art,"
goes on to become what the man
said she was and preserves testicles
by freezing them, having found that
it was the preferred method:
"Preservation/ Was at first a prob-
lem: pickling worked/ But was a lot
of trouble."
To clarify, Howard says that the
word grotesque has to do with the
"grotto, the originating cavern" and
ultimately translates as the uncon-
scious. Macdonald does indeed write
from a submerged self. As she says,
"all good poetry comes from a mys-
terious place. My own poetry is an
attempt to capture worlds inside and
outside of me." To be assured, these
worlds are as complex as they are di-
verse. The poet was first an opera
singer, then a mother, and is now
also a practicing psychoanalyst, poet
and writer of prose. d
Macdonald is known- for her wit
and ironic, disturbing observations.
She presents the horror in life (such
Sas in "Objects d'Art," where both
men and women are castrators and
victims), but the horror is balanced
-- though not made less intense -
by the notion of survival. Her
greatest pleasure, she says, is "...to
get the writing right. If I can say,
'This is something that pleases, ex-
cites and surprises me,' then that's
what being a writer is." And she
*will surprise.
On top of her varied accom-
plishments, Macdonald currently
teaches at the University of Hous-
ton, where she founded the creative
writing program in 1979. Her latest
book to be out in January, Living.
Wills: New and Selected Poems,

"Suicide Blonde" (CD single)
Now that Michael Hutchence's
hair is of acceptable length, INXS
have released a new song so he can
flaunt his longish tresses again. It
even has to do with hair. A typical
INXS single - sexy subject, good
riffs and hook-filled - that flicks
their pop/rock genius in face. The
small mouth instrument, memorably
wielded by Andrew Ferris, adds a dis-
tinctive anomalous disco/synthesizer
sound. The hip, campy cover resem-
bles Goo with color as does the
black and white inner sleeve/ad for
blond hair dye. The only letdown is
that it sounds like a mix of "What
You Need" and "Need You Tonight,"
and even samples the latter in a cou-
ple of mixes. That doesn't really
matter though, everyone will buy it
anyway because it is INXS.
-Annette Petrusso
Fugazi - I've said it before, I'll
say it again - are the band for the
'90s. Soon the fallout from the reac-
tionary '80s will rain down, and
Fugazi are one of the few bands who
have anything politically interesting
or fresh to say. Folk singers have
been singing about nasty things for
years. A hummy-strummy acoustic
guitar can't come anywhere as close
to expressing the alienation and anx-
iety of a generation about to come to
power on the verge of national catas-
And thankfully Fugazi maintain
an intelligence that keeps them from
falling into the pathetically simple-
minded approach of sohmany of to-
day's hardcore bands, who sing about
important clich6s like "the kids," or
"how society is so fucked up, man."
Doesn't it seem like "kids" in their
20s would have been around long
enough to know better than to be so
tritely absolute?
Enter a song like "Merchandise"

off Fugazi's latest release, Repeater.
The song demonstrates how much
punch a fist waving, political song
can deliver without descending into
stupidity or wimpiness. "You are
not what you own," proclaims this
song. And what better a bumper
sticker slogan in response to the
1980s than that?
Fugazi's songwriting is more
linear on this effort, yielding more
charged and complex compositions.
Because the group come out of the
punk scene, their song structures
tend to have a more traditional feel
- witness "Merchandise," a song
actually written a few years back.
The album's first and arguably finest
track, "Turnover" illustrates this de-
veloping songwriting well, juxta-
posing the comparatively calm
verses with the even calmer begin-
ning, manic stop-start rhythms and

final flailing aural crescendo.
"Turnover," like the album's title
track, documents the band's contin-
ued foray into the post-punk world
of noise. The fifth song,
"Blueprint," also my favorite, brings
this together with an even better
demonstration of Fugazi's increas-
ingly linear approach. The song
doesn't have any kind of
verse/chorus structure. Although if
utilizes noise, it maintains a much
tighter and restrained chaos. The dy-
namics are perfect, juxtaposing the
tension and emotional fervor of the
music and lyrics in a way vaguely.
reminiscent of Wire's "Heartbeat."
The frustration that singer Guy Pic-
cotto moans and screams about is .
balanced brilliantly with the con-
trolled screeching of the guitars and
the steady thumping of the rhythm
See RECORDS, Page 8

don't be left outl.

This is it!
Here's your chance to get your picture
in the 1991 MichiganEnsian yearbook
Our photographer will be here
from September 24 through 28
and October 1 through 5 to take your
Senior Portrait on the second floor

of the UGLi.

Don't forget your

will be her fifth. "You are too bor-
ing," she says, when asked for advice
for aspiring writers, "Don't limit
yourself to your self. Take what you
know and allow yourself the pleasure

of invention and self-discovery."
reading today in the Michigan
Union Pendleton Room at 4 p.m.

appointment and your $3.00 sitting fee!
If you have any questions, call 764-0561.

*The best
For close to one
hundred years, the
Michigan Daily has
been consistently rated
the top daily campus
newspaper in Ann
Arbor. Join a winning
team. Meetings for
News, Arts, Sports,
and Opinion staff
every Sunday at 1 p.m.
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