Donnerstag, 2. April 2020


Emmylou Harris hat heute Geburtstag, da sind Gratulationen angesagt. Zu ihrem Geburtstag vor neun Jahren gab es hier schon einmal den Post Emmylou Harris, und sie wird in vielen anderen Posts erwähnt. Ich könnte jetzt natürlich einen Song von ihr abdrucken, ✺Boulder to Birmingham würde sich anbieten.

Emmylous Kollegin Linda Ronstadt hat in ihrer Autobiographie Simple Dreams etwas sehr Schönes über Emmylou Harris gesagt: Emmylou started to sing, it got very quiet. Clearly, something unusual was taking place up on that stage, and we in the audience were mesmerised. Emmy has the ability to make each phrase of a song sound like a last desperate plea for her life, or at least her sanity. No melodrama; just the plain truth of raw emotion. The sacred begging the profane. My reaction to it was slightly conflicted. First, I loved her singing wildly. Second, in my opinion, she was doing what I was trying to do, only a whole lot better. 

Then came a split-second decision I made that affected the way I listened to and enjoyed music for the rest of my life. I thought if I allowed myself to become envious of Emmy, it would be painful to listen to her, and I would deny myself the pleasure of it. If I simply surrendered to loving what she did, I could take my rightful place among the other drooling Emmylou fans, and then maybe, just maybe, I might be able to sing with her. I surrendered. Linda Ronstadt hat ihren eigenen Weg gefunden, sie ist aber auch mit Emmylou Harris aufgetreten. Hier sehen wir die beiden im Jahre 2009, als sie einen Ehrendoktor vom Berklee College erhalten

Nicht nur Linda Ronstadt war von Emmylou Harris beeinflusst. Da ist auch noch die amerikanische Dichterin Kathryn Stripling Byer, die einmal fünf Jahre lang poet laureate von North Carolina war, die erste Frau, die diese Ehrung erhielt. Im South 85 Journal hat sie einen Essay mit dem hübschen Titel When I Stopped Wanting to Be Emmylou Harris veröffentlicht. Da beschreibt sie den Einfluss der Country Sängerin auf ihre Lyrik: It took me a while. After all, who wouldn’t want to wear fancy boots, lots of fringe, and sing, not to mention write, songs like 'From Boulder to Birmingham'? Even now I marvel at how long it took me to realize that the poetry I was writing was my way of singing. After years of Emmylou envy, I began to hear my voice, as I gave readings, approach song. I began to focus on poetry as sound, as what Richard Wagner came to call even years before he’d inscribed the first note of an opera, “sound landscapes.” Of course this poetic landscape encompasses all the elements of poetry, syntax, image, lineation and so forth, but more and more I began to listen, really listen to where the language was leading me.

Der Essay endet mit einem Gedicht, das das erste Gedicht in dem Band Descent wurde. Aber da bezieht sie sich nicht mehr auf Emmylou Harris, sondern auf den Song Morning Train der Bluessängerin Precious Bryant:

So long, so long, the train sang
deep in the piney woods, well out of sight….
As sound only, it found me… long vowel
reaching for nobody I knew as yet,
sounding an emptiness
deeper than I thought could blow through
the cracks of this song where I’m kindling a fire
for my fingers to reach toward,
a kindling that transforms whatever it touches
to pure sound, a pearl, say,
that’s cupped in my palm
like a kernel my teeth cannot crack,
the pulse of it strung note by note round my neck,
that old rhythm and blues beat
I can’t stop from singing me home
on this slow morning train
of a poem, its voice calling
downwind, What took you so long?

The poetry I was writing was my way of singing, das ist ein schöner Satz.

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