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Discover New Music

  • Live at the Magic Bag, Ferndale, MI

    • 6 out of 10
    • Supersuckers
    • Man, there's nothing like good, old fashioned, rock and roll... add a bit of industry resentment to that with a double-shot of cynicism, and you get one of the best "new" rock bands going. This album
  • Life's Rich Pageant

    • 8 out of 10
    • R.E.M.
    • In the long series of R.E.M.'s evolution, this album (finally?) showcases their ability to capture on tape what had been happening in the live for years: heartfelt, sweat-filled performances that just
  • Now Here Is Nowhere

    • 10 out of 10
    • Secret Machines
    • The Secret Machines' inaugural album, Now Here is Nowhere is both old and new in its sonic assault. The trio's surprisingly big sound evokes Pink Floyd (without ever sounding like any Pink

  • Machine Gun Etiquette

    • 8 out of 10
    • The Damned
    • Punk rock is mostly associated with three chords and a bad attitude, but the Damned were one of the few bands of the era bent on bringing musicianship and a good sense of humor to the scene. And while
  • Gimme Fiction

    • 10 out of 10
    • Spoon
    • Gimme Fiction by Spoon is a terrific album by an Austin band that I was lucky enough to catch on an Austin radio station during a Christmas visit.

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National Poetry Month & More

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month?

I didn't.

I confess I'm not a huge fan of poetry. I understand some of it and I like the imagery a good poem can evoke, I just can't take a steady diet of it.

Maybe it's because I suck at creating my own poems. Try this on for size:

Trees spring from seeds
Bloom and grow
Tall and mighty
Fall on to my desk
as next month's electric bill

Pretty bad, huh?

There are those who can spin a web of words so sorrowful that they could draw tears from a stone statue or so full of joy that flowers will pop open even in the dead of Winter.

I guess that's just too much emotion for me. My daughter, on the other hand, enjoys a good poetry reading and can sit for hours reading books filled with the stuff.

Anyway, if you're into poetry and enjoy writing it, listening to it, reading it, or watch others do any of that then iTunes U is the place to go.

Surprised? I know I was. It turns out that iTunes U is chock full of stuff related to poetry.

For instance UCTV (University of California TV) has an excellent series called Poetry, Authors & Books and features a set of poetry readings called Lunch Poems. During each episode samples of poems are read before a live audience. Sometime the author does the reading, sometimes others.

In the 2004 Kick Off episode Cam Nguyet Nguyen reads poems written by authors from her native country, Viet Nam. She reads them in her native tongue and afterwards translates what was read.

While the translation was enjoyable I actually preferred listening to the Vietnamese version. The melodic phrasing is song-like and while I don't have a clue what's been said until the translation is read, I find I don't care. Vietnamese is a beautiful language when compared to the rather dry and monotonous English language.

Anyway, make Poetry, Authors & Books your first stop on your hunt for poetry in the iTunes Store.

If you like a more bohemian/coffee shop feel to your poetry then you might try Poetry Slam Student Poets from Abilene Christian University.

People pontificate poetic about all sorts of things and some of it ain't pretty, but it does make you think. This is how I'd like to have my poems served to me, while sitting in the dark and heavily caffeinated while pissed off people hurl raw verbal imagery at me. Add a smokin' jazz sax and swap the coffee for beer and I'm there.

There are 4 Slam session under the September 08 tab and another 6 under the March 08 tab. I haven't seen all of them, but what I have seen is not bad at all.

Finally, if you like something with even more edge try out Indie Feed's Performance Poetry. This is not an iTunes U podcast, but I think you'll like it all the same.

Here artist mingle spoken word with music to produce a unique poetic art form. The words are raw at times, the subject matter is all over the place and the music is everything from electric jazz to classical, and all of it is worth a listen.

That's right, listen. I'm recommending an audio podcast, which is something I seldom do, but this is worth it.

Performance Poetry, grab some shades and take a listen.

Cool.

That's a wrap for this week.

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Vern Seward is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He’s been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

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