Buzzing Faintly at the Blurred Edge

David Bromige - "This Second Kind of Happiness" (1'06). Bring to mind a male voice, then strip from it any coarseness, stridency, or arrogance. At the service of a complacent mind, such a voice would be merely smooth, a caricature of seductiveness. Since everything it said would be agreeable to the ear, the content of its utterances would remain undeveloped, robbed by the facility for giving pleasure of the treasures wit must work hard to unearth. But attach such a voice to one of the quickest and subtlest minds a generation has to offer, one nimble enough to negotiate the tightest of discursive corners and to profit (poetically, at least) from what's around them, and you have David Bromige, a London-born Canadian poet who lives in California (one might alternatively say a California poet educated, in part, in England and British Columbia). This track, recorded circa 1984, is all about pacing, which is to say pausing, and subtle variations of intonation. Shifts in verb tense and narrative angle prevent a single scene from coalescing, but the phrase repeated in the second and the final audias hints at a kind of consummation, a "knowing combination" in which not only bodies but facets of mind (reason, sense) are joined. Better to be thus constellated, the poem suggests, then suffer the isolation of reductive definition, which--pace audia 10--serves only to sicken. From here, you'll want to proceed to "My Poetry," a signature piece of unsurpassed (though exquisitely understated) cleverness, here imperfectly preserved (a sixteen-second drop-out mars the track at its midpoint: there must be other recordings? no?) but delightful in every other respect.

More Bromige at PennSound. Recently updated Bromige page at EPC. Bromige in conversation with Doug Powell, May 2003, in Jacket 22 ("Let me say there’re no rousing assurances in my poems. Let the rich bury the rich. All I can do is destroy their language. I think the pill is wearing off. Got more?"). While there, be sure to check out Gary Sullivan's perceptive appreciation of Bromige's 1980 Figures volume My Poetry.

Waveform image of line by David Bromige

Tuesday -- 22 August 2006 -- permalink

The Lipstick of Noise is a product of the Third Factory • Inspired by the music blogs • And by Paul Blackburn's reel-to-reel deck. Intending to make good use of PENNSound and other sources of digital audio files of poetry • Comments welcomeXML.