Raw to the Bone: On Springsteen, Rivers, and the Arc of Creativity in Poets' Quarterly

Friday, December 6, 2013

April Lindner had the idea to gather us (Jane Satterfield, Ned Balbo, Ann Michael, me—her Springsteen loving friends) at the Glory Days Symposium at Monmouth University more than a year ago. We each gave papers, each talked about the influence that Bruce Springsteen has had on us.

I spoke about the arc of creativity under the influence of Bruce Springsteen's river songs, and I'm so happy to be able to share a link to that full essay here today, for the piece now stands among works by Donald Hall, Daisy Fried, Barbara Crooker, and Caroline Maun (among others) in the current issue of Poets' Quarterly.

It begins like this, below, and carries forward here:

Might as well start with “Shenandoah,” the old pioneer song that Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band transformed into sweet bitters in the living room of Springsteen’s fabled New Jersey farmhouse.  “Shenandoah,” the tenth song on the We Shall Overcome/Seeger Sessions album, is music being made, as Springsteen himself has said. Music created in the moment, held between teeth, conducted with the frayed bracelet strings of an uplifted hand. It’s music hummed, hymned, and high in the shoulder blades, deep in the blue pulse of a straining vein. Patti’s lighting candles in the darkening farmhouse, as the band tunes in. The antique clock ticks. The thickly framed mirror doubles the volumes of sound and space. And now the Sessions Band is elaborating, confabulating, and the Shenandoah roves.
 Many thanks to Leslie Nielsen, and Ann Michael.


Melissa Sarno said...

I know nothing of Springsteen but I love your connection to his words and music. I love the piece, especially the last line about being our holy selves. Thanks for sharing!

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