Monday, October 18, 2010

allow me to present the soundtrack to what I was feeling while I was writing my third book of poetry

Book Notes – Paul Siegell (“wild life rifle fire”)
G.R.A.B. | Bisco | Radiohead | Jim James | Wilco | Bob Marley
Grateful Dead | Animal Collective | Portugal, The Man | PHiSH

In the largehearted boy "Book Notes" series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Paul Siegell’s third book of poetry, wild life rifle fire, is
“a stunningly beautiful work… gorgeously clean… imaginatively designed… This is a book examining language, finding the tricks in the language that the language couldn't know it had.” - Geof Huth

Vladimir Slender-Hedge wrote of the book:
“Paul Siegell's wild life rifle fire proves, if proof were needed, that the electrifying art and legacy of Concrete Poetry is not dead! Here we find DaDa dynamite and typographical talismans freshened by a poet whose native gifts imbue this exciting work with a whole new sense of poetic object. Siegell’s haptic heroism compels the reader to re-examine the basic elements of a language that we too often take for granted, in the process creating an energetic and always surprising work of both visual art and poetry.”
In his own words, here is Paul Siegell’s Book Notes music playlist for his third book of poetry, wild life rifle fire:

Let’s get into the song!

“Play, Stop, Pause” by GRAB (Mike Gordon, Joe Russo, Trey Anastasio, Marco Benevento)

When I wanna get going, when I want something rocking triumphant, I put on the first song of 06/30/06 GRAB at the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ, a show my friends and I went to on the cusp of a great summer of travel, and I’m on a T-minus count to “Heck yeah!” An epic 4:26. Adventurous, explosive and memorable, just like what wild life rifle fire hopes to be.

“Digital Buddha” by the Disco Biscuits

Here I am, sitting on this computer, seeking that wrestle and peace of writing something well, and I look up on a weirdness: I had “ZOOM IN” on my screen, a draft for some ad at my marketing department job. I increased the point size a bit but I went too far and it was too much for the margins and then Word broke the line to reveal: “ZOO / M IN.” Cue eureka. (Animals in captivity + zooming in makes something larger, but this says minimize.) I fell in love immediately and that, as if a meditation, would become the first page of the book. And Bisco’s “Digital Buddha” was playing when all that happened.

“Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” by RA D IOHE_AD

“Your eyes. They turn me.”

“Goin’ to Acapulco” by Jim James w/ Calexico

Originally from Bob Dylan and The Band’s The Basement Tapes but then redone for the “I’m Not There” soundtrack, this song’s chorus can be heard belting from outta my body at full blast any given moment that I’m not around anyone. I listened to this song at least once a day while I was writing this book. The idea of fleeing from “meh” and out to somewhere warm and sunny and fun, horns and all, it plays a huge part: “Goin’ to Acapulco. Goin’ on the run. Goin’ down to see some girl. Goin’ to have some fun, yeah. Going to have some fun.” It’s the “yeah” (which is really a “yeeeaaaahhh”) that does most of the work. It’s loud, drawn out and spectacular. It’s speaks the release, and Jim James’ voice owns it. Would only just one thing I do in this life be as good as that “yeah.”

Spiders/Kidsmoke: Wilco

“This recent rash of kidsmoke.
All these telescopic poems.
It’s good to be alone.”

“Bend Down Low” and “Acoustic Medley” by Bob Marley

There must be Marley. There must be “REG / GAE”. There must be the complete Acoustic Medley (Guava Jelly; This Train; Cornerstone; Comma Comma; Dewdrops; Stir It Up; I'm Hurting Inside). These songs mean Pooch and I are headed from Philly to Ocean City and we’ve got Appa with us and all we gotta do is get thru the shore traffic and then I could show her the latest printed-out draft of the book and we’d both know that it was becoming real.

SET II of 06/30/95, Grateful Dead at Three Rivers Stadium - Pittsburgh, PA

I don’t remember who I traded with to get this cassette tape, might have been Izzard, but I remember playing SET II of this show dozens of times back in college. Bootlegs. Goodness. Story went that it was an outdoor show and just as the set was about to begin, it started to rain. Thus: Rain (Beatles cover), Box Of Rain, Samba In The Rain, Looks Like Rain> Terrapin Station> Drums> Space> I Need A Miracle> Standing On the Moon, E: Gloria. You can listen to the show HERE, as I have many times. I have been told that “RAIN” makes a very big impact in wild life rifle fire.

“Also Frightened” by Animal Collective

But what if wild life started shooting back? (What if a “poem / could”?) What if the melt threat was more than a threat? What if our guilt for doing what we do to the planet was actually real and what some actually expect to happen, natural global devastation, actually happens? What if the Earth strikes back?

“People Say” by Portugal, The Man

This song, with some of the smartest, clearest lyrics dealing with what’s going on in the world today that I’ve ever heard, speaks to the elephants of wild life rifle fire and how they reoccur, which is fitting because of the double album’s two versions: the “The Majestic Majesty (acoustic)” version and the electric one on “The Satanic Satanist.”

“Squirming Coil > I Been Around” by PHiSH (11/27/09 Albany, NY)

“It got away, yeah. It got away.”

There’s that “yeah” again. But this time it’s not the “yeah,” it’s the “away.” The away is the extended, harmonized bridge to the yeah, and the yeah gets us to the solo. All the hope in the world arrives every time Trey, Mike and Fishman leave the stage and Page McConnell is left all by his beautiful self, alone with the crowd and his piano. When his bandmates leave, that’s the white space in the book. Lyrically, the sun set, Satan and Jimmy did their thing, Icarus took his taste, and now it’s time for Page to carry us all away on 88 keys. All the gentle turmoil of his “Squirming Coil” solo. Page’s decadent piano excellence—And don’t those piano black keys look like they’re typeset in Helvetica? In my first book, Poemergency Room, I’ve a line: “All I want if for my page to play the piano.” And when writing this third book, I felt like, in some strange, Helvetica-driven way, I was but one note closer.

Hidden Track:

“Float On” by Modest Mouse

“OK, don’t worry we’ll all float on / Even if things get heavy we’ll all float on / Alright already we’ll all float on / Don’t you worry we’ll all float on / All float on.”


  1. i had sent that to *largehearted boy* months ago, but they never ran it so i figured what the & why not, right?

  2. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Not gonna lie, the Jim James Goin' to Acapulco is one of the most powerful songs I have heard in a while!

  3. see, now THAT's what i'm talkin' about!!!

  4. Hi, interesting post. I have been wondering about this topic, so thanks for posting. I’ll definitely be subscribing to your site. Keep up the good posts