April 11, 2023

Poem by manuel arturo abreu

As I said in my first blog post in April every morning I receive an email from Poem-a-Day put out by the Academy of American Poets. It’s a way to stretch my thinking in a different direction, reading poetry written by artists from varying backgrounds. I can read them or listen to them. I prefer listening since they’re often recited by the poet. On some days listening helps me center myself for the day ahead. Some poems are calming, others sad and some challenge my thinking.

I found this one fascinating and I learned what Klangfarbenmelodie means.


clock that measures the opposite of time
ancient pixel built from half a breath
the seed of a perfect moon

numbers don’t lie because they can’t tell the truth
the kindling space between a choice
& its airless shadow

a polite noumenon guides my dismay
with the grace of email for doves
originating in silence like all eternal things

joystruck demon of rain
the welas at the bus stop look like potatoes
in cellophane       the milk of their laughter

Anaisa’s mirror is her palm
a plangent yellow, bones of song
tracing lines of flight

Almost always at the end of the poem is About this Poem. Some days it takes me listening to this section to get a sense of what the poem is about and/or what the poet is conveying. This is one of those times but I’m sure music educators reading this are familiar with Klangfarbenmelodie.

“Klangfarbenmelodie (German for ‘sound-color melody’) is a musical technique that involves splitting a musical line or melody between several instruments, rather than assigning it to just one instrument (or set of instruments), thereby adding color (timbre) and texture to the melodic line. Serialists such as [Arnold] Schoenberg and [Anton] Webern are known for this approach to tone color. The technique is sometimes compared to ‘pointillism,’ a Neo-Impressionist painting technique. In this poem, I explore linguistic applications of this concept with reference to non-linear time, placemaking, and what Wilson Harris calls the ‘predatory coherence’ of quantized or Cartesian time (as opposed to Bergsonian ‘pure time’ or ‘duration’).”
manuel arturo abreu

To learn more about the poem and are curious about a person who would write a poem about Klangfarbenmelodie go to THIS LINK. Enjoy and consider subscribing to Poem-a-Day.

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