Urban Graffiti Mix #12 by Mark Mccawley on Mixcloud
Exceptionally lyrical, subjective, personal. Tracks of love, ecstasy, longing, sex, obsession, desire. Tracks seeking out language to describe the indescribable; also, the madness that accompanies each acceptance or denial of longing, obsession, desire; for each who wins, another must lose; the agony of grief, loss beyond consoling, but not beyond words. Good words. Bad words. Mean words. Transgressive words. Most of all — lyrical words. Passionate, rapturous, ecstatic, euphoric. Yes, love hurts. It’s the only fire we again and again allow ourselves to be burned by.
Urban Graffiti Mix #11 by Mark Mccawley on Mixcloud
The Great Culture Machine has limited definitions of what does, and what does not constitute contemporary literary culture, and in doing so, has overlooked many new hybridized, avant-garde, and experimental crossovers by innovative and pioneering musicians, artists, writers, performance artists and poets dating back decades. Three months in the editing, UG Mix #11 took into special account notions of Sprechgesang and Sprechstimme — musical terms which refer to an expressionist vocal technique between singing and speaking, though sometimes used interchangeably, when compiling the mix. So, when quite often, the resulting musical and literary hybrids crossed over into realms of poetry, narrative, and music as well as within each — again and again I put forth the idea that certainly new definitions and genres should be created, or at very least a dialogue begun towards a more inclusive notion of what is literary, especially when words leave the printed page and take flight.
The writers, poets, and artists who make up both parts of this colossal mix create in epic opposition to the status quo. They have never been comfortable with the quick labels and easy categories that the Great Culture Machine of the 20th Century have attempted to fit them into in a failed effort to make avant-garde mainstream: to turn art, literature, music into advertising. Avant-garde has never been mainstream. It rejects all conformity. It seeks to escape all control. It bursts out. Employs technology to create new works. Uses strategies borrowed or taken from each other: appropriation, falsification, insincerity, or outright plagiarism. They fuse avant-garde impulses of the last century with the technologies of the present. No longer bound by old familiar paradigms of the printed page, the 45, or even the compact disc, it morphs from gallery space to YouTube, from the social space of the poetry reading to the social space of the blog. It is the literature of absolute flux.
In true transgressive tradition, these works are wildly political, explicitly sexual, aesthetically troublesome, ethically bothersome, and socially questionable.
Vision and memory. Experience and imagination. Secrets. Confessions. Regrets. Identity. Introspection. Insurgency of the self. All insistent elements of those artists, musicians, writers, poets who live and create on the edge, always pushing at boundaries personal and creative. Speaking of things too long left unspoken: where secrets transform into taboos. Same sex love. Alcoholism. Violence. Incest. Abortion. Desires. Obsessions. The fertile ground of the outsider artist, the underground writer, brave and courageous enough to mine the dark, deep wells of the self, society, culture and return with beautiful, sometimes terrible glimpses of what is there. The stories we tell. The stories we are. Our narratives.
Note: the editor wishes to thank Dennis E. Bolen for his permission to stream his poems “Everybody”, “Mr. Rage”, and “Song of the Chain”. Thanks also to Catherine Owen of Above & Beyond Productions for permission to stream “Villanelle” and “The Music Ruins”, both from Catherine Owen’s Trobairitz, performed by the Lyrical Outlaws. Thanks also to Owen for permission to stream “Cassandra of the Black Arts” by Medea, a collaboration between Owen and the late Chris Matzigkeit. Special thanks to Joe Rosenblatt whose poem, “Snake Poem” was recorded and mixed on August 26, 2012, by Catherine Owen at Above & Beyond Productions.
As long as I have been a writer and micro-publisher, I have noted a disconnection at the heart of CanLit. A disconnection between what was being written by the graduates of Canada’s creative writing programs, and published and consumed culturally by Canadians, and the gritty truth of Canada’s real life authentic experiences (as I knew them) and what passed for them in the majority of CanLit fiction and poetry. What I found seemed mired in various forms of deconstruction, while I constantly sought the authentic and the visceral and the transgressive in human experience in fiction and poetry which was peculiar by it’s absence. Not a complete absence, mind you. Yet enough to direct a generation of writers and poets away from relating the authentic, the visceral, and the transgressive in their fiction and poetry. To choose to write along such lines meant virtual isolation. All one need do is scan Canlit’s award winners to identify this disconnect. You’d think we were back in the 50s.