Snow and Dry Stones

From: Paul Nelson
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2016
To: Ruth Lepson
Subject: Snow and Dry Stones

Dear Ruth,

What a well-written, lucid and important account of Charles Olson you give in Letters for Olson! I saw your name and the names of other friends in the table of contents and flipped around in the book. Some essays are incomprehensible, or at least they were for me. Maybe I could read again, but some do not seem worth the effort.

Yorio Hirano! Yes, and your essay. That you give testimony from Diane di Prima is wonderful. This has been an issue with me and a younger poet who says "of course Olson was misogynist." This is related to one issue that prompted many Trump voters. When you go to ELEVEN on the racist meter for Romney, how can anyone take you seriously when you try for TWELVE on that meter for Trump? Or, to a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

YES to the poetry of our time that will survive! Yes to multiculturalism! Death to Yepez! (OK, not death, but maybe a bad limp or something.)

Anyway, thank you and Seasons Blessings.


Letter from Max Greenstreet

I started with the settings. I love how "Shape of My Life" starts, how the song's opening music leans in and then falls away, letting you say the next few lines in the quiet (how then the lack of playing becomes a sound that accompanies the words), the speaker alone briefly, all alone, until bang-ba-bang-bang those drums throw open the door and the band comes flying in. I laughed with delight at that entrance, and then laughed a second time when the sax part seemed to be referencing the start of the horse races. "Peeling Carrots" is so moving, and then the twist at the end turns things around and I think, "Indeed." I like the sound of your "yes" at the top of "Yes." I love "Box." I love how "Relaxed" comes on so very gradually, and then how your poem falls in separated chunks, a wonderful rhythm. Oh Ruth, these are just fantastic! Your voice is wonderful, the poems are superb, and the band totally killer. The longer pieces are exciting as songs, top to bottom, but also I notice I would often, after the last notes of a track, slide back to listen again to just the part where you are speaking. I grew partial to the short ones, where the balance of vocals to instrumentation is more 50/50. As knocked out as I was by the playing and the arrangements, I can confide to you that I liked it best during the moments when the vocalist is being featured. I played "As Enough Approaches" maybe 6 or 7 times. "Always Two Things Going On" is amazing. If I could download the songs, I'd put them into mixes with other music and play them in the car. But now Kate is reminding me that we have 3 of these! I forgot (have been listening at your site). I will look forward to listening to "Driving" while driving!