Monday, March 10, 2014

March 9, 2014 Steve Dickison Live

On Sunday, Steve Dickison, the director of SFSU's Poetry Center and American Poetry Archives, came to discuss his manuscript, Wear You to the Ball. This incredible collection is a collaborative work paying homage to jazz musicians, and writers, mostly notably Etel Adnan and Zora Neal Hurston. Steve was not able to join us until the bottom of the hour so we began the show with recordings of Jelly Roll Morton and Zora Neal Hurston.
We read a couple of pieces from the manuscript, which is mostly composed of prose poems. Throughout the work there are numerous references to musicians, as well as quotes from musicians and writers. In this way the work is collaborative; the poems remind one of jazz musicians creating new music together. And the the prose poems, written as long sentences without the use of commas and periods, may also remind the reader of jazz, with its improvisational form.
You can see Steve performing his poetry at

After the top for the hour, Steve joined us and added his much-needed knowledge of music. He talked briefly about how music is disseminated throughout the world, explaining how musicians influence each other. He taught us about Buddy Bolden, who was so essential to jazz music. In terms of his work, he discussed the construction of the poems, where he used a syllabic constraint while sustaining a narrative thread. Steve lets his work come in from outside; he receives his content from his environment. He ended the interview sharing the importance of music in his earlier life, as well as his appreciation of the musician's discipline in creating his/her art.

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