Peter & Patricia "Like The Leaves In Fall" from Poetry Out Loud #1
Klyd Watkins "American Morning Mantra" from Poetry Out Loud #1
Peter & Patricia "Let Me Ride You" from Poetry Out Loud #1
The Harlemans "I Am The Crow" from Poetry Out Loud #2
Klyd and Linda Watkins "Open Your Flower" from Poetry Out Loud #2
Klyd Watkins (w/ piano by Bill Chelf) "Down Into Your Smile" from Poetry Out Loud #2
Linda Watkins "Put Down" from Poetry Out Loud #2
Klyd and Linda Watkins "Ride 'Em Ranger" from Poetry Out Loud #3
The Harlemans "We Blew From The East" from Poetry Out Loud #3
Klyd and Linda Watkins "Amen Absent" from Poetry Out Loud #4
Patricia Harleman "Between The Valleys" from Poetry Out Loud #4
The Harlemans "I Am Weeping" from Poetry Out Loud #5
Klyd and Linda Watkins and The Harlemans "Ocean" from Poetry Out Loud #6
The Harlemans and Klyd and Linda Watkins "Magic" from Poetry Out Loud #7
The Harlemans "For Clyde and Linda" from Poetry Out Loud #8
The Harlemans "I Give My Body To The Drum" from Poetry Out Loud #9
The Harlemans with Klyd Watkins "Let's Let The World Go Down" from Poetry Out Loud #10
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For this week's podcast show, Clint Simonson of De Stijl Records joined us in the studio to discuss the re-release of the Poetry Out Loud series, one of the most extensive archival projects his label has taken on. The show includes selections chosen by Simonson from each of the original 10 LPs released during the years 1969-77 and between tracks we discuss the context from which these innovative records emerged and their connections to more contemporary experimental works.
The official De Stijl press release reads:
"Poetry Out Loud was a series of ten LPs released between 1969 and 1977 as a sort of “magazine of oral poetry.” The driving forces behind Poetry Out Loud were two couples: Peter and Patricia B McGarry (Harleman), from Topeka, Kansas, and Klyd and Linda Watkins, from Nashville; together they followed their muse of “taking poetry off the page,” seeking a centuries-long end-around back to the oral tradition. As Peter said it then, “The poem on the page has no relationship to the poet. There has to be an integral relationship between poet, performer and audience.” In other words, this is word-as-sound art, a heavy trip.
While the ensuing years have pushed Poetry Out Loud toward the fringes of crate-digging awareness, they won over some significant fans in their day. Robert Palmer (author of Deep Blues, among other works) wrote about Poetry Out Loud at length in Rolling Stone more than once during the ’70s. “Such sounds, with their welter of enharmonic pitches, stimulate most of the surface of the basilar membrane, thus ensuring the transmission of as many simultaneous neural impulses as possible to as much of the brain as possible,” he wrote in the notes for Poetry Out Loud Number Nine, getting at the physio-mystical heart of things. “And the neurons are able to rest between firings because of the rapid decay time of the sounds, thus insuring continuing peak effects for the sound and allowing changed or other sung material to periodically resume its own hypnotic pattern. In other words, the shaman’s basic equipment – voice, drum, rattle – is actually a sophisticated tool for self-induced hypnosis, or trance.” That (and much more) said, no written words are going to prepare you for the experience of hearing what might be one of our most visionary releases."