norbert blei | winter book

9 07 2011

To clear the air or the screen a little: a little history.

I was invited by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowhip of Door County last spring to give a talk/reading in celebration of National Poetry Month…in honor of Emily Dickinson. I cautioned that I was not the person to talk about Emily since I felt uncomfortable with her poetry. But I was immediately advised that it was not about Emily, but about poetry…about my sense of poetry…about… Well, take it from there.

And I did–on April 13th. Which got me talking about poetry and prose. The combination. How poetic prose can lift words off the page.

I spoke/read for about 45 minutes…felt ‘unhappy’ about the sound system; was unaware that a film was being made (that would eventually appear on YouTube); was unhappy with my delivery at the beginning (out of rhythm, out of synch), unhappy about the weak sound of my voice; felt I had/was losing it since my operation; felt I was still locked somewhere between decline and recuperation, might never be who I once was, do what I once did…and why the hell was I boring all these good people tonight anyway? There must be something better on TV.

The filmmaker seems to have broken down the talk into five separate videos on certain subject areas i discussed. I don’t know if it’s all here/there or not…if there are any transitions. Just how it all or IF it all comes together. If any of it makes sense. And I won’t know because I never watch myself, review any films or videos or programs.

Some people find this hard to believe. But I find it hard to believe some people.

In any event, my memory of that night, that talk, centers around the poetry of prose. Just how it works. Writers in the past I particularly admired, (Chicago’s Nelson Algren for one. Sandburg. Dylan Thomas…) writers I studied, because they knew how to make ordinary words sing, raise talk to written art…and and so on. I also read from some of my work to show what I learned–so far. I read from the prologue to CHI TOWN. And excerpts from WINTER BOOK. And???? And then I felt tired…running out of time…and probably said: “That’s it.”

And it was. I had an enjoyable time. Saw a number of old, good friends. Made a few new ones. And went home. promising to read myself to sleep with a little more Dylan Thomas and some Sandburg.

Above, again, for the record, what I’ve been talking about. What appears on YouTube.

And right here, for now, thanks to so many of you for your emails and comments on my “15 minutes of world fame.” My time is up. —Norbert Blei




4 responses

9 07 2011
Maire Skrobot

Thank you for sharing this. I was unable to attend the event at The UU and now I see what I missed. It is good to see and hear you once again..a gift for all!
Chicago and the Door love you..

9 07 2011
Ray Foreman

Norb, it’s heart warming to see some of these latest photographs of you. Makes me feel like we’re going to make it for a while yet. I like some of the comments you introduce in the video above. I feel the humaness you’ve always had rings true when you just speak, just speak. Not poems. You know me, the poetry I love still comes from the sidewalks of Clark Street.

Ray Foreman

10 07 2011
a.d. winans

enjoyed hearing you read your work in this video and seeing you read them.

1 08 2011
rudy singh

enjoyed your work
here is a link to some of mine


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