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October 08, 1998 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-08

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LB The ichigan Daily Weekedtagazine - Thursday, oc"tobe", 1998
Weekend etc. Column
OF PROFESSORS, POETRY AND PASSED-OUT PUPPIES

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J

It may surprise some of you to hear
hat I received an enormous amount of
Feedback in response to the column I
wrote last week. Now, at least 100 per-
:ent of this feedback was imaginary, but
:he responses that were authentic
expressed a real interest in the new move-
ment taking place here in Ann Arbor.
The questions included in these messages
:onvinced me to arrange an open discus-
;ion session with some of the preeminent
prof ssors on campus, as well as you, the
student body.
Having said that, please allow me
to introduce to you Profs. Walph
Rilliams, Derrick Mabkin, and the
Hon. De Cameron.
AM: Good morning, gentlemen.
Glad to have you with us today.
WR: A good morning to you!
DM: 'Lo.
HDC: Good morning, everybody!
AM: Representing the student
body, we have with us today three
unshaven young men in white hats;
one young woman in dangerously
tight pants; a pair of earnest, self-pro-
claimed poets who have yet to pass
English 124; a student who has
recently attended class; and one frat
dog. Well, so much for the introduc-
tions. Let's get down to business!
Prof. Rilliams, would you like to start
us off?.
WR: Certainly. It'd be a pleasure to
lead off the discussion of this amaz-
ing new phenomenon. I've prepared a
rubric of the topics we'll be dis-

cussing today, and I should like to
read them off, if I may.
AM: No, I'm sorry, there isn't time.
Yes, I see we have a question from the
student who recently attended class.
Go ahead, miss.
Q: You're an idiot. I assume you were
dropped on your
head repeatedly as
a child?
AM: Har * -
We're having
some fun now!
Next question,
Yes, you there,
the one wearing
the shirt that says
"Whatever."
Q: Yes, I wasy
wondering if it ANDREW
might be possible MORTENSEN
for me to join the Bic; IDEAS
Vurb movement. () T T
I do poetry, you ANY)
know.
AM: Hmm. You do poetry. Gosh, I
don't know. Do you happen to have a
writing sample on you?
Q: Yes, right here. I wrote it on my
belly because I never use paper.
AM: Fascinating. Professors, if
you have no objections ... ? No?
Right, let's hear it.
Q: "Who has seen the dirt in the
dirty gutter? / When I play golf, I use
my putter. / I like to smile at the
clouds, / Whose faces are all soft and
puffy, like clouds. / And when it rains,

/ I feel no pains, / Because I smoke
pot." What do you think?
AM: I'm speechless.
Q: So it's good?
AM: Perhaps I'd better let one of
the professors field that question.
WR: Oh no, I think you're best suit-
ed to handle that, Andrew.
DM: I'm in agreement with my
esteemed colleague. It's all yours,
Andrew.
HDC: Show us what you got,
Andrew. After all, this whole move-
ment is your brainchild.
AM: What was the question?
Q: I asked if you thought my poet-
ry was good.
AM: Ah. Well, I mean, it's sort of
hard to say, you know. The word
"good" is such a vague term. It hard-
ly does your poem justice.
DM: Good answer.
Q: What do you mean?
AM: Next question, please. Yes, you in
the white hat. No, not you, the other one.
No! The one to your left! You! Do you
have a question you'd like to ask?
. Q: Are things like "Iota Chi Theta
Rules" examples of Vurb poetry?
AM: No.
Q: Why not?
AM: Clearly something stooping to
the unnecessary use of Greek letters is a
despicable waste of time. If I were to tell
you I had written a poem, and then recit-
ed the English alphabet, would you call it
poetry? Certainly not. It doesn't mean
anything. And besides, the pathetic

automatons who scrawl that sort of crap
around campus hardly know how to spell
their own names. I'm acquainted with
some of them.
Q: Oh? Who?
A: Next question. Prof. Mabkin?
DM: Andrew, I've just been looking
over this sample of Vurb poetry that
you handed out before we started the
discussion, and I'd like to point out
that "Spark Gap - The Clarified
Butter!" is quite a biting social criti-
cism.
AM: At last! An intelligent contri-
bution! Please go on, professor.
DM: Also it's a good name for a
band.
AM: Uh, thank you for that, uh,
deep insight. Just a moment, there
seems to be something happening
among the gentlemen wearing white
hats. Excuse me, guys. Would you
mind sharing your thoughts with the
group?
Q: Sure. The dog's passed out.
AM: What? How?
Q: Well, he likes beer, you see. So
we fed him a forty. And now he can't
walk.
AM: Wonderful. Uh, Prof. De
Cameron, where are you headed?
HDC: Home.
AM: Well, thank you for joining us
today. It was certainly a pleasure to
have you with us.
WR: Andrew, perhaps you'd like to
give us an interpretation of the sample
of Vurb poetry you handed around.

AM: I'd love °to. But Professor
Mabkin indicated an interest in it.
Maybe we should let him go first.
WR: He's asleep.
AM: Oh. I suppose I could say a few
words about it. First of all, I should
like to put forward a new theory
regarding the field of literature. Some
of you may have heard of the Aesthetic
movement of the mid- to late 19th cen-
tury. The members of this group
adhered to the idea that Art for Art's
sake was reason enough to create. I
hold that we have another such group
living in Ann Arbor. Their goals, how-
ever, are not quite the same. Rather,
they have conceived an entirely new
theory: the aesthetic of nonsense. How,
you ask, can nonsense - that is, some-
thing that is without sense, or is not
sensible - be beautiful? Well, allow
me to explain ...
Q: The other professor's asleep,
too.
AM: Great. Yes, what do you want?
Q: I wrote another poem.
AM: God help us. Pardon me, miss.
Yes, the one in the tight pants. You've
been very quiet today. Do you have
any questions about what we've been
discussing so far?
Q: Yes, I was wondering if these
shoes make me look fat.
This concludes the first annual Vers
Urbana Colloquium. I hope you've all
enjoyed yourselves as much as I have.
Did we learn anything? No, but we
sure had some fun trying!

A G

en

M

A

Z

I

N

October 8

le

WOLVES
Continued from Page 7B
tet 'ublished, sketches baby boomer nostalgia
oaked in duality: "I felt most at ease in a
iotel/liked putting my belongings in imper-
;onal drawers/You were spending most of
tour time at home by this point/smoking your
ipe by the fire looking Victorian."
In "My Only Friends Were the Wolves,"
voice and music stretch and distend. They
)ear the listener on excursions through social,
}olitical and emotional landscapes, on pil-

grimages to space, time and death.
Sometimes, there are only words; other times,
there is only music.
Tillinghast reads "Lost Cove & the Rose of
San Antone" alone, without the usual support
from Poignant Plecostomus, so that the deso-
lation present in each spoken word stands out:
"He holds his glass of whiskey up to the
light/that is almost gone. Its color suits his
thoughts." Contrast this with the instrumental
"Third Movement," which gushes, drops into
interlude and builds up, listless-like, to a
untimely end.

There exists a great variety of verse-song
mixes on this album; this makes sense if one
considers the temperament of poet and of band.
Poignant Plecostomus is able to evoke, but not
accurately reproduce, exotic styles of music.
Thus it fits in well with Tillinghast's lyrics,
which evoke real feelings and situations.
A faintly tongue-in-cheek Beat Poet sound-
track accompanies "The Bacon" and
"Starfuckers" ("'Your lower lip drives me
wild,"/she said in a trattoria"). Quasi-mari-
achi fills "An Alley Behind Ocean Drive," an
exposition on the poor and the moneyed of

Miami Beach. Tillinghast spits out "The
World Is," bemoaning destruction and war,
against the ascension of chaotic rock, guitar
growling.
Probably the best collaboration between the
artists occurs in the lovely "Eight Lines by
Jelal-ud-Din Rumi," written in Turkey in
1971. Here, word and note blend precisely
into one.
"And the whirlwind dervish voices
blow/over desolate stone...." it sings, "Ours is
not a caravan of despair." Language, uplifted
by violin whorls, transcends.

Ann Arbor
#267

Ann Arbor
#797

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JOIN US FOR A POST SHOW DISCUSSION WITH BECKETT SCHOLAR
ENOCH BRATER ON OCTOBER 9, 1998
GENERAL ADMISSION $14 " STUDENTS $7 WITH ID AT THE LEAGUE TICKET OFFICE
CHARGE IT! 734.764.0450

Richard Tillinghast's CD *+ The Arb + Ann Arbor C

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