Page 41 - Litteratteur Redefining World December issue
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Litterateur redefining world                      December 2020

                experience  of  silence  is  a  deep  one.  Paradoxically,  it  is  this  moment  of  silence
                which  gives  the  poem  its  maximum  sense  of  self-awareness.  Hearing  “Chorus:
                SON(G)” for the first time, a friend wrote to me that it “seduced the listener into the
                willing participation in chaos.” That seems to me an extraordinarily apt description
                of the poem’s effect: the “chaos” is the chaos of voices—all wildly different from
                one another—inhabiting the same space.

                At the same time, however, I wish the poem to be a display of skill: the idea of craft
                is  by  no  means  entirely  subsumed  in  the  idea  of  transformation.  The  poem  is
                rehearsed;  we  are  careful  in  performance  that  the  two  voices  end  at  exactly  the
                same time—a fact which the audience always notices and comments on. That the
                poem  is  meant  as  a  kind  of  religious  experience  is  suggested  by  its  constant
                parallels—somewhat  blasphemous  ones—to  the  Catholic  Mass.  The  poem
                maintains itself throughout in a deep openness—“Voices of the sea”; it contains

                even a strictly rhymed passage—another deliberate instance of “skill.”

                “Chorus:  SON(G)”  is  also,  deeply,  a  California  poem—not  least  because  it
                mentions East Oakland (where I live). The intensity and diversity of the West Coast
                —even the ocean, which Kerouac attempted to mime at the conclusion of Big Sur—
                is present in it. It is tender, fierce, and in a certain sense violent: “at large in the

                                          “Chorus: SON(G)”


                             PRESS THE HEAR BUTTON TO


                                                JACK FOLEY

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